Waiting game drags on

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

Sitting at home for the first time in seven CFL training camps, Scott Coe punched out a quick text message directed to a local scribe.

"How are the boys looking down at McMahon?"

Cut by the Stampeders three months ago despite being one of the club's most visible and popular players, the 28-year-old Canadian linebacker still cares deeply about the team he called family for four years.

Perhaps more to the point, he's still passionate about the game, which is what makes it so hard for him to watch from afar as his football career is on hold.

"I'm still sitting around waiting, talking to different teams and everyone is in the same boat -- they're concerned with bringing a veteran in because if I get hurt they're stuck paying me," said the colourful Winnipeg native, a victim of both the salary cap and a new coaching staff that gutted last year's bottom-feeding defence.

"I understand their position, it's a business. If rookies get hurt, they can just cut them. It's almost like you price yourself out of a job because you're an older Canadian and you're a commodity. By no means am I the first -- I was younger and cheaper at one point. I just wanted to play football."

Still does. Badly.

Working out daily with an eye on answering the phone one day with news his agent found him another football gig, Coe is also selling insurance for his uncle.

"I still have that mindset I'm going to play somewhere," said Coe, who hopes to play at least another two to four years. "I've talked to the majority of teams or my agent has and it's just a matter of if somebody goes down and needs a Canadian. If I get a call, I'm on the next plane."

Here comes the proviso.

"But it would have to make sense financially," he added.

"To get paid $35,000 doesn't make sense. I'd have to rent and live and I'd still have my place here. I also have a job here I enjoy. It's a double-edged sword -- do you want to stay and work and not play or do you want to play and not work. It's a tough one. Nobody plays this game for the money."

Not in Canada, anyway. You play three-down ball because you love it -- can't live without it, which is what Coe is feeling now.

And that is what makes it so hard to contemplate the possibility he might've played his last down. Ever.

"Absolutely, I've thought of that, especially over the last couple months," said Coe, who led the league the last few years in hair colours and local appearances.

"You can't play football forever, and it's a realization you come to quickly when you get older. I was lucky enough to have older guys like Danny McManus and (Jamie) Crysdale and Brian Clark tell me, 'you have to be doing something outside of football. You don't want to start at the bottom of a corporate ladder when you're 30 -- it sucks. I have a great support group around me and that's the nice part about Calgary -- I have family here and work for my uncle now and he's helping me out. My best friend is (former Stamps cut Mike) Juhasz. He knows what it's like. Clark and I talk all the time about not playing again. I still think Brian's one of the best linebackers in the league."

Coe, too, still has plenty to offer, even if only as a non-import special-teamer who can help a team's Canadian ratio, passion level and community relations.

Heck, he'd even jump back into red & white.

"By no means would I ever rule it out -- I just want to play football," he said. "To rule out a team because you just got released by them is crazy in my mind. I love this organization and everything about it."

Everything except the fact he's no longer part of it.


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