VANCOUVER - Jesse Lumsden no longer plays for the Calgary Stampeders but they'll still be in his heart as he whirls at break-neck speed down a bobsled track Sunday.
For the second straight year, the former CFL star running back won't be able to watch the Grey Cup due to his busy bobsled schedule as he competes in a World Cup event in Whistler, B.C. He will settle for watching television highlights of Calgary's showdown with the Toronto Argonauts at Rogers Centre.
"I was happy to see (Calgary) do well, because I still have close connections with a lot of the guys on the team," he said during an interview at a Vancouver hotel before heading to Whistler.
Lumsden, 30, retired from the CFL in 2011 after six seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders in a career cut short by an assortment of injuries.
This weekend, he will push for top Canadian driver Lyndon Rush of Humboldt, Sask., in the two-man and four-man events.
Calgary advanced to the Grey Cup by upsetting the defending champion B.C. Lions 34-29 on Sunday in the West Division final at B.C. Place.
Lumsden will also be following the Vanier Cup, which will be played Friday night at Rogers Centre between his alma mater, the McMaster Marauders, and Laval Rouge et Or. It's a rematch of last year's final, which McMaster won 41-38 in overtime at B.C. Place Stadium with Lumsden in attendance.
"I had skipped my flight to Europe with my bobsleigh team so I could come to Vancouver and watch Mac play," he said. "The next day, I flew back to Calgary and tagged along with the skeleton team and made it to Austria in time for training.
"It was a bit of a whirlwind. I'll be watching it on TV this year."
Which just goes to prove: You can take Lumsden out of football, but you can't take it out of him. He still misses competing on the gridiron, but refused to admit that for a long time.
"What has helped me is being in bobsleigh, because it's extremely competitive, competing on an international level and an international circuit, which keeps me very focused and occupied," he said. "If I wasn't doing that, I would miss football (more.)
"To be honest with you, I'd probably still be trying to play football."
Lumsden is setting his sights on qualifying for his second Olympics, in Sochi, Russia in 2014. He was a member of the Pierre Leuders two-man and four-man teams that placed fifth in Whistler in 2010.
After he retires from bobsledding, Lumsden would like to get back into football as a TV commentator.