After two weeks in Canada, former Pittsburg State standout football player Aaron McConnell realized that it was just not for him.

After two weeks in Canada, former Pittsburg State standout football player Aaron McConnell realized that it was just not for him.
So, after a Blue and Gold Scrimmage with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — a Canadian Football League team — where he took 47 snaps during the event, McConnell decided that it was time to stop playing the game that had dominated most of his life, and retire from football altogether.
“After that, I called my wife and told her that it still wasn’t there,” McConnell said. “I woke up Saturday morning and went through practice and I grabbed my D-line coach and told him that I was done and I was not feeling football.”
McConnell, a 6-foot-3 four-time All-American and four-time All-MIAA defensive lineman with the Gorillas, went to Canada after the Arena Football League — a league he was a part of since 2005.
In his first two seasons with Nashville, McConnell played in every game and was named All-Rookie in the AFL in 2005. He played for the Colorado Crush in 2008.
However, this was not the direction McConnell thought when he made the trek to Canada.
“I told my wife that the big question was how long would I play and I told her six years” McConnell said. “My heart just was not in it. I got down on the field and it just was not there.”
Even after getting inquiries about playing in a new football league, McConnell still said no.
“I had people call about that new league and I said I was done ... don’t even worry about it,” McConnell said. “I just won’t play because it is not in my heart and I don’t feel like I need to do it.”
But, while McConnell may be done with playing the game, he is not quite ready to step away cold turkey.
He said that his attention is focused on building a potential training facility in Pittsburg and is in the market to talk to potential investors.
McConnell said he is currently working with Tyler Harrell of Plastic Resource Group, Inc. out of Pittsburg to build a 3-Dimensional model of his dream facility.
“It takes a lot of time away from coaches and this might just help high school players get bigger, faster and stronger,” McConnell said. “If there was an indoor facility to accommodate and let people go in and do things, it would be beneficial.”
The plans call for a 40,000 square-foot building that has an indoor football field, weight room and other amenities.
It is all part of his plan to stay involved in the game, which may go beyond just the training facility.
“The game of football will always be a part of my life,” McConnell said. “It would be a dream to coach somewhere like Pitt State.
“The training facility is still coaching and training kids. It is a passion that I have.”
His goal now is to try to teach the game that earned him All-American status while playing at Pittsburg State and helping others realize their dream to play the game that he loves so much.
“I want to be that person that helps and influences kids in football around here,” McConnell said. “I think I have a lot to teach and I want to do that.”
Even after earning several accolades during his years playing in the Arena Football League, McConnell said that it was still time to hang up his pads.
“I really fell in love with arena football and it was bad when it folded,” McConnell said. “I don’t know but, maybe the outdoor game is just not for me.”
Now the focus is solely on his training facility.
“It will be an awesome thing to do for southeast Kansas,” McConnell said. “I knew I had something to do here and I don’t know if that helped my decision to leave.”
As for regrets over walking away from playing football ...
“I, so far, have no regrets and I don’t think I will,” McConnell said. “I gave a lot of blood, sweat and tears to the game and it gave me a lot of fun times. I just think it was time to walk away.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at