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McCallum kicks into high gear

Age is definitely not a state of mind with Paul McCallum.

The 43-year-old B.C. kicker will return for his 21st season in the Canadian Football League after signing a new two-year contract Monday with the Lions.

"I don't think I'm 43 years old, I don't feel 43, and, hopefully, I don't kick like I'm 43," said McCallum, the CFL's oldest player, after a news conference at the team's practice facility in Surrey, B.C.

The new deal includes a year plus a club option. McCallum was set to enter the option year of his old deal, which has been scrapped. The Vancouver native, also a residential realtor, takes each season on a year-by-year basis as he contemplates the right time to move into his second career full-time.

"I jokingly say I've got the rest of my life to grow up," he said.

McCallum has felt better than he did before he started taking part in gruelling workouts with former Lions receiver Geroy Simon.

"It's kind of ironic," said McCallum about his longevity. "I remember Lui (Passaglia) being my age and me looking up to him and (thinking) how can he kick for that long. You blink your eyes and hear you are."

Passaglia, pro football's all-time leading scorer, played a record 25 CFL seasons, all with the Lions. McCallum's career is now within the quarter-century mark in range, but he is not predicting whether he will still be putting the ball through the uprights as long as Passaglia did.

"It's funny. When I was probably around year 17, I remember saying 'There's no way I'll keeping going to 25,'" he recalled. "But (the years) keep going by quickly. So I'm not going to look at it that way. I'm just going to take (one) season at a time. We'll see what happens after this year.

"I'm not going to rule out (reaching the 25-season mark), but I'm not saying I'm shooting for it, either."

McCallum played all 18 regular-season games for the Lions in 2012. The Vancouver native was successful on 44-of-52 field goal attempts. The performance was down slightly from 2011, when he connected on 50-of-53 attempts.

McCallum made 17 straight field goals to end the 2012 regular season. He was also good on all five post-season attempts to extend his playoff streak to 34 straight successful field goals.

"When you look at what he's done in the years that he's been here, when you look at what he's done in the playoffs, it's almost unbelievable that a man can be this consistent," said Lions general manager Wally Buono.

But McCallum is not targeting any upgraded numbers in the forthcoming campaign. He just wants to try and help the Lions get back to the Grey Cup after they were eliminated by Calgary in the Western Final following a 13-5 first-place finish.

"I just go out and try and do the best I can," he said. "I don't have any specific goals."

The Canadian Press


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