Football is a Raymond family affair

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:53 PM ET

When Keon Raymond is looking for an honest assessment of his play, he doesn’t turn to coaches or teammates.

If the Calgary Stampeders defensive back wants to hear it straight, he listens to Junior.

For instance, Raymond stepped in at cornerback against the Toronto Argonauts last week and knocked down a last-second hail mary attempt by Cody Pickett.

Pretty good, huh?

“My son said, ‘Daddy has butterfingers,’” Raymond said about Keon Jr. back in Murfreesboro, Tenn., which is near Nashville.

“They get to see some of my games on the internet. He wanted to know why I dropped the interception.”

Pretty tough crowd.

Although he’s faced with his first starting assignment Monday against the Edmonton Eskimos, the 26-year-old is unfazed.

He is replacing CFL all-star Brandon Browner at cornerback, but he’s ready for this chance.

Becoming a father when he was just 19 and a freshman at Highland Community College has made the defensive back mature beyond his years.

Since then, Raymond and now wife Bianca added another two boys to their clan as he transferred to Middle Tennessee State and starred there.

DaShaun, 4, and Ramael, 3, arrived in recent years but after graduating from college with a business degree, Raymond sent the wife back to school.

She’s working on a PHD in psychology at Middle Tennessee State and taking care of the three boys while Raymond earns a living with the Stamps.

Although he’s the breadwinner of the family now, Raymond isn’t arguing who the hero is.

“She’s a trooper. She is incredible,” Raymond said about his wife, who he will renew vows with for their seventh wedding anniversary.

“She has three years left (of school). I told her to take all the time she needs. We have three boys. They can be rambunctious.

“Coach (Chris) Jones got me a webcam so I get on there every night. I go home and see them. We do homework together. (Junior) reads to me and I read to him. I’m not there in a physical sense but at least they can see me.

“I told her that I will take care of us now and she has to take care of us later.”

The pressure is on Raymond to keep his job because football can be a volatile occupation with no security.

But the 5-foot-10, 190-lb. player has become a valuable member of the defending Grey Cup champions due to his versatility.

Although he is listed as a linebacker, he has dressed for all eight games this season as essentially a backup at six different spots around the defence.

This will be his first start this season in replacing Browner. It was the same situation last November in Montreal for the title game, but Browner gutted through a broken ankle while Raymond watched as a scratch.

So Monday’s game will be a big one for the second-year Stampeder. With Junior in school, Raymond can’t have his family there, but they did see him play in person against the Argos at McMahon Stadium in early July.

“My family is a blessing to me,” Raymond said.

“I want to be with them but I want them to be stable right now. I don’t want to take them away from what they are doing.

“I want to keep their everyday life going.”


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