Ultimate warrior

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

When Tim Hortons was looking to employ a Calgary Stampeder as spokesperson for its Timbits football program, Scott Coe was a natural choice.

The fun-loving linebacker is really just an oversized kid.

When Coe is out running around with a group of eight-to-10-year-old players, it's hard to tell who is the professional and who is just starting out.

"The only way you can tell the difference between me and those kids is I'm a little bit bigger," said Coe with a laugh. "Otherwise, we're exactly the same, running around loving playing football."

The main similarity between Coe and youngsters is that no matter how hard of a hit Coe takes, he gets back up and into the next play. Young kids don't know they're supposed to sit out after smashing into one another.

The 25-year-old Coe is the same way but even when he's hurt it doesn't bother him.

Through his first year with the Stamps in 2004, the University of Manitoba product played through a shoulder injury that required surgery at the end of the season.

In the last third of a 4-14 campaign, when the Stamps had little reason to play but for pride, Coe ran around with reckless abandon despite the fact he couldn't raise his arm above his head.

"Little kids fall or they run into something, they fall down and are bleeding but they get back up and start going again," Coe said. "That's my mentality. Nothing hurts too much. It can all be fixed. That's what (trainer) Pat Clayton is here for. He fixes me up to go play again."

His style of play grates on opponents, who know Coe won't give up. B.C. Lions receiver Jason Clermont wrote in his newspaper column early in 2005 that Coe is one of the five most irritating opponents to play against because he has no regard for his body.

The Winnipeg native learned from his father that unless you can't walk, run out there and do your best.

"I don't know if that was tough love or what," Coe said. "Me and my little brother used to kick each other around and Dad would get in there, start boxing us around.

"If it's not broken, you're fine. If it's not bleeding, you're fine. You just get out there and keep going."

The 6-ft. 3-in., 229-lb. linebacker didn't have grand designs on playing football until Winnipeg Blue Bombers lineman David Black came to his school when he was younger. After that, Coe was hooked.

So Coe is always willing to help kids interested in the game and that's what the Timbits program is all about. Coe works with the atom-age kids by being an honorary coach.

"We're trying to embrace football, starting at the grassroots level," Coe said.

"We want to build them up. Sometimes there isn't those programs in Canada. Everyone pushes football aside because of hockey. In the summertime, we're really trying to push football.

"And if you start young, they learn to enjoy it and will play forever."

Or for as long as they feel like kids.


Videos

Photos