Roenick back with Flyers, says he'll play again

Updated: March 3, 2004, 12:39 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Three weeks ago Jeremy Roenick entertained the thought of retiring, but the Philadelphia Flyers center said Tuesday that he'll play again when healthy despite his family's strong desire to see him quit the game.

 Jeremy Roenick
Roenick

"I feel good. I am not going to retire," Roenick was quoted as saying in a Philadelphia Inquirer story published Wednesday.

Roenick sustained the ninth concussion of his career when he was struck in the face with a puck by a slap shot off the stick of New York Rangers defenseman Boris Mironov in a Feb. 14 game.

Roenick, 34, had surgery the following day to repair a broken jaw. The day after the procedure, he talked about retiring. He's not certain if he'll be able to play again this season. His face is much less swollen now and he has a deep scar that runs along his left jawbone.

"I had a couple of good days [this week] and, obviously, getting cleared by the doctor the other day is a big step for me," he told the Inquirer. "I am going to try and come back, get in shape, and see what happens."

Roenick boarded a flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia on Monday night to return to the team, but gave pause to his decision upon seeing his wife in tears and hearing family members urging him not to go.

"It was very hard to get on that plane, with my family and friends trying to keep me there," Roenick told the Inquirer. "But I belong here."

Roenick rode a bike Tuesday without experiencing headaches or dizziness.

According to the Inquirer, Roenick's father, Wally, said over the weekend that he tried to talk to his son about his playing future, but Jeremy wasn't returning his phone calls. Nine concussions have taken their toll and Jeremy should quit, his father said.

"I have had 90 percent of family and friends who want me to retire," Roenick told the Inquirer. "And it's not going to happen. But I came closer [to retirement] than any of you realize. Early Friday morning, there was no way I was ever playing again. But to a lot of people's disagreement, there is nothing wrong with my brain."

Tests have confirmed that Roenick has no damage to his brain.

Roenick, the team's second leading scorer at the time of his latest injury, has 18 goals and 27 assists in 57 games. The Flyers were in a four-way tie for the Eastern Conference lead heading into Wednesday's home game against Nashville.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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