03/21/2012 05:17 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Veteran Bombers DT Doug Brown retiring

Blue Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown officially announced his retirement in Winnipeg.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Brown said it is important to leave on his own terms.

Team officials praised Brown for his hard work and professionalism both on and off the field.

The Bombers have been encouraging fans to tweet their memories of the veteran player. Many did and so did other Canadian Football League players.

"The best DT in CFL history retires today," tweeted Don Oramasionwu of the Edmonton Eskimos. "Lucky to have learned from a legend I my first 3 years in the league."

Brown made it clear last year that 2011 was almost certainly his last.

The Bombers made it to the Grey Cup but lost to the B.C. Lions in Vancouver.

Brown started his pro career in the NFL but the native of Port Moody, B.C., spent 11 seasons in the CFL.

Brown was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in 1997 but went straight from college to the National Football League, where he spent time with Buffalo and Washington.

He played his first CFL season in 2001, joining the Bombers after they acquired his rights from the Stampeders.

Brown was an eight-time divisional all-star and was the CFL's outstanding Canadian in 2001.