February 9, 2024

Sean Whyte Still ‘Kickin’ Entering Year 15

This offseason, Sean Whyte has decided to put his firefighting career aside to prioritize on his fitness and family.

Yes, kickers are athletes too.

Whyte, the wily veteran, is still ‘kickin’ nearly 15 years after first strapping on the Lion gear. He enjoyed another stellar season in 2023, making went 50 of 53 in field goal tries — knocking down 94.3 percent of his kicks. The White Rock, B.C. legend was nominated for the CFL Most Outstanding Player and was selected as a CFL All-Star and Western Division All-Star.

The 38-year-old often gets asked about his age, and Whyte usually just chuckles as he is out on the field to prove doubters wrong every season since he first saw live action with the Lions in 2009.

“I think kicking is like being a golfer. You can only get better. Everyone is like, ‘Oh, you only have two good years left.’ In my mind, I still feel good. My only setback is I’m lazy and I don’t train enough. That’s the way I’ve always been. I’ve played a lot of sports and never lifted anything. I’ve always relied on my athletic ability,” Whyte said.

He’s not going to hang up the cleats anytime soon and he’s flipping the script this offseason with his workout routine and diet. Whyte believes it is time to change, mainly because he and his wife, Ranna who wed in Mexico last December are expecting their first child in September 2024.

“It’s scheduled for September 25th. Since that’s happened, I feel like I got to change the way I am discipline-wise. I’ve been staying on top of things, can’t be living like this single Sean anymore,” Whyte added.


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For the longest time, Whyte was a regular in the weight room with former BC Lions strength and conditioning coach, Chris Boyko for over ten years.

“We used to work hard. Then COVID screwed everything up. I know how to train, and how to eat right. Doing it is the hardest part. When I had Chris around, he expected me to be somewhere even though there were those days that you didn’t want to be there. But you didn’t want to let him down,” Whyte recalled.

Whyte started his CFL journey in 2003 and began his playing career in 2009 with the Lions. Over a decade later, one of CFL’s most accurate kickers has returned home in 2022 — intending to transition to firefighting soon after the season.

Becoming a fireman has always been one of Whyte’s biggest dreams since high school because his father also served as a Delta firefighter for 31 years. Due to the pandemic, Whyte chose to move back to B.C. hoping for a more stable career with the Delta Fire Department.

The motivation has since shifted 1oo per cent to winning the Grey Cup with the Lions ever since Whyte signed a two-year extension after the 2022 season. Whyte feels the love from his teammates, coaching staff, and the community. He loves football again.

“After 14-15 years, the game has finally slowed it down for me. It’s also the people around me. I’m on a great team that doesn’t add stress. I have a great holder Flint [Stefan Flintoft], Pickett [Riley Pickett] is getting better and better with his snaps. I trust the guys around me. I’m in a very comfortable spot which allows me to do my job freely,” Whyte said.

This offseason, BC Lions kicker, Sean Whyte says he's due for a physical change as he prepares for his 15th CFL season.

He was once a rugby fullback and in charge of kicking duties at the Bayside Sharks Rugby Club. Whyte made his CFL debut in 2009 filling in for BC Lions legend Paul McCallum. And thanks to head coach Wally Buono, who discovered him on the rugby pitch and guided him along the way, Whyte is still playing football to this day.

“Wally has always been my football dad. At first, I thought he was a bit of a jerk because he didn’t want me to get traded to Winnipeg. I thought I was doing better than McCallum at some camps. But I was young and dumb. I wasn’t ready for neither of things and he always did the right thing for me,” Whyte recalled.

“He’s known me and my family for a very long time. He’s very approachable. When I wanted to go into firefighting, he always said, ‘If you need a reference, I’m your guy.’ He’s always been there for me. I’ve been at this level for so many years now, it’s crazy. I’m going to listen to Wally.’”

Although his most recent game-winning field goal from 2023 against Hamilton in Week 19 still lives freshly in his memory, Whyte will always cherish his time backing up for Paul McCallum from 2007 to 2010.

“I played 12 games in 2009 because Paul got hurt. I ended up doing okay at first then I fell off because I wasn’t doing the right things off the field. I was having way too much fun being a rookie kid,” Whyte recalled.

“In 2010, we were going into Winnipeg, Paul tweaks his groin. Finally, I get to play. I think I hit two 50-yarders. I thought that would be my only game of the year.”

The following week playing against Edmonton at the Empire Field. Due to a roster error, Whyte was never taken off the depth chart and never packed his gear besides his cleats and helmet. When he heard his name called, Whyte and former Lions equipment manager, Kato Kasuya, were scrambling to find a jersey and pants that would fit him in the middle of the game.

This offseason, BC Lions kicker, Sean Whyte says he's due for a physical change as he prepares for his 15th CFL season.

“The brass thought there were no roster changes from the week before. I’m still on the active roster. J.R. LaRose got hurt on a kickoff. Coaches and refs were yelling at each other, Brent Johnson looked at me and said, ‘You might have to play!’ Wally told me to get my stuff on. Like I didn’t even have my stuff here. Kato and I went up to the locker room to cut a jersey, put on these long freaking pants I had to roll up around my knees. I had to borrow Paul’s shoulder pads and Paris Jackson had to punt while I was getting ready,” Whyte added.

With all the chaos happening all at once, Whyte was trying to shake off the jitters as his 2009 season ended with a slump. He vividly remembers that day because it was cold and damp. His family was in the crowd. Buono wanted other CFL teams to get a glimpse of Whyte, so he asked Whyte to practise kicks three hours before the game.

Whyte was exhausted from his pregame kicks, but he had to sink the 48-yard field goal to send the game to overtime with four seconds on the clock.

He splits the upright and the Montreal Alouettes traded for him shortly after for a first-round pick.

“My parents have the whole footage saved up. The media built it up afterwards, they saw me take that kick, and they thought I could handle the pressure. And I was the guy in Montreal from 2011,” Whyte said.

Now he is in the driver’s seat to fully capitalize on this opportunity in 2024 with the Lions hosting the Grey Cup. Whyte is using this offseason to maintain his kicking technique and prepare himself on becoming a parent.