Rambo's desire never in doubt

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:09 AM ET

All those hours spent on a training table or working on a treadmill can let the mind wander.

So there were obviously times when Ken-Yon Rambo questioned all the work he was doing and whether it was actually worth it.

It’s been a long road of recovery from a torn ACL suffered July 24, 2009, at B.C. Place Stadium against the B.C. Lions.

Throughout the past calendar year, there were ups and downs for the 31-year-old Los Angeles native, but all the time off did was reaffirm his passion for his job.

There is plenty of introspection when you are sitting around watching others play, but Rambo seems to have won the gold medal in mental gymnastics.

“It was either you want to play football or you don’t want to play football,” Rambo said about the questions he had of himself. “Are you done or are you not done? That’s what went through my head.

“Do you still love football as much as you think you love football? All those things went through my head.

“The answer was yes, yes, yes. I love playing and I want to get back on the field. That’s my goal.”

When Rambo steps out on McMahon Stadium’s turf Saturday night to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7:30 p.m., TSN), that goal will be achieved.

Not only did the Stamps want him back, they need him now. P.K. Sam has a knee injury and is out for the next two months, at least.

So Rambo will switch positions, moving into the slot for the first time since 2007.

But he hasn’t lost any confidence in his abilities to make an impact for his team, no matter where he lines up.

“I’ve been through so much stuff. I never had a doubt in what I could do,” Rambo said. “It was a mental thing going through rehab and doing that stuff and getting back to your potential.

“You have doubts. It will slip your mind. You’re human. Is it going to stick? Are you going to let that stick? Then you have no heart.

“With the rehab … it’s a life thing. I learned a lot of things through this ACL injury.”

For the past two months since camp started, Rambo has been close to returning, but that’s where the final push was needed to make sure he was 100%.

He probably could have suited up last week against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but the extra seven days helped him smooth out some pain.

During practices this week, Rambo was on the field for every play asked of him, and he even told defensive teammates to push him hard and not let up — without tackling, of course.

At one point, he took a hand to the face, which roughed up his nose a bit.

It actually felt good.

“I needed all that kind of stuff. It felt good to get hit and catch some balls again,” Rambo said, saying he’s not going to take unnecessary hits during the game.

“I’m not going to be crazy. We’re just going to say that right now.”

Although Rambo was still part of the team, he said the biggest thing he missed while not playing was the camaraderie amongst his teammates.

It’s hard to feel like you contributed to success when all you can be is a cheerleader. It hurt even more when the team didn’t succeed.

“Making plays comes with the territory,” said Rambo about what he missed. “The main thing is having fun with the guys, fighting to win the game and enjoying the win afterwards.”

Now that football was taken away and he’s fought hundreds of hours to get it back, he doesn’t take his job for granted.

“I have a better appreciation for things. I have a lot of friends who are not with me today, or who I grew up with who are paralysed,” said Rambo, who can still run with the best of them.

“We’re blessed to be able to do this.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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