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For Singor Mobley, no other team, but Edmonton would do.

On Friday, the veteran Eskimos linebacker made it official by announcing his retirement from professional football.

"It just didn't seem right, me playing in a different uniform," Mobley said at a press conference at Commonwealth Stadium. "I believe green and gold."

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His announcement came two months after he was cut from the Eskimos roster, a decision management said was prompted by its need for younger and cheaper players.

Mobley said he was hurt by the decision and started to look for another team. But after reading a Sports Illustrated article about star football players finishing their careers with second-rate teams, he felt he had to go.

"It just didn't seem right to me... just to go to some place just for one year or two years, and not get the same treatment as I did in Edmonton," he said.

Mobley joined the Eskimos in 1995 after a wildly successful stint playing college football with Washington State University. Two years later, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and played 43 regular-season NFL games and one playoff contest, limited to mostly special teams play.

He returned to the Eskimos in 2000 and quickly gained a reputation as an effective linebacker, leader and team-builder. In 2003, he won his first Grey Cup with the team (a feat repeated in 2005) and was nominated by his team as most outstanding defensive player the same year.

Eskimos kicker Sean Fleming, who himself has played 16 years with the team, said Mobley's leadership and experience will be missed, but that other players will hopefully pick up from where Mobley left off.

"There's change every year," he said.

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Growing up on the gang-riddled streets of Tacoma, Wash., Mobley believed early on that football could be a "way out" of crime and violence. He credited his family and friends for keeping him involved in the sport.

"A lot of people kept me on the path and, 'There's nothing out on the streets for you,"' he said.

Mobley's cousin, childhood friend, and Eskimos teammate for two years, Torey Hunter, said Mobley's dedication veered him away from the violence.

By the time Mobley reached college, one of his cousins had been jailed for murder, while another died in a gang-related shooting.

"That probably marks him more than anything - his toughness," Hunter said in an interview from Idaho, where he has been coaching college football for the last three years.

"I think he just needs time away from it so he can appreciate what he's done as a professional football player."

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Mobley said he will continue to live in Edmonton, where his two-year-old daughter, Aliyah, lives, and where he works in construction. He said he doubts he will move on to coaching.

"Right now, I don't think I have the patience for that," he said with a laugh.

"Because if I have to coach any one like myself, I might have to pull what hair I have out."

Mobley played 158 games with the Eskimos, recording 602 defensive tackles and 78 special teams tackles. In 1995, he set a team record with 129 yards on three fumble recoveries.

The 34-year-old was still an effective player for the Eskimos last season, starting all 18 games and finishing second in the club with 59 defensive tackles.

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