CALGARY - The way Ken-Yon Rambo describes it, his off-season training sounds as simple as someone trying to drop holiday weight.
To get prepared for the CFL season, the all-star receiver does ‘work on treadmills.’
OK, nice leisurely jogs watching the afternoon soap operas on TV. How tough could that be?
Well … that’s not quite how it goes. These moving walkways are going about 20 miles per hour and are sometimes at a 40-degree incline.
When Rambo is on it — ranging anywhere from a minute to six seconds, he believes — his arms and legs are moving so fast you can’t even see them.
Entering and exiting is a violent twist and contortion.
“Rambo is a beast on them,” said linebacker Juwan Simpson, who joined the program down in Dallas a few years ago.
“You see a guy like him, almost 40, in perfect shape. He gets on that thing, runs hard and gets off like it’s nothing.
“I get off with some balance, but he gets off so smooth. I’m jealous sometimes.”
There is certainly reason for anyone to be envious of Rambo’s skill and physical ability.
Exactly who else could suffer a torn ACL one season and come back even stronger the next one like he did?
In 2010, the ’09 CFL leading receiver missed the first four games getting completely healthy and then went out and had 1,172 yards in 14 games.
At that pace, over an 18-game season he would have ammassed 1,572 yards, which would have easily led the league again.
Now that he’s entering ’11 fully ready to go, can we expect numbers like that again?
“The sky is the limit,” Rambo said. “I think everybody can get better. I think I can get better. In 10 years of being a pro, my goal is always to get better.”
There were a couple of amazing highlights for Rambo in 2010 even without a Grey Cup victory at the end.
On Oct. 1 at home against the Montreal Alouettes, the Ohio State product turned a simple crossing route into a 100-yard touchdown scamper.
But it was the TD he scored in his first game back that gave a lasting impression.
After scoring, he took the football over to the trainer, Pat Clayton, and gave him a long hug while choking back tears of joy.
“It was awesome,” Rambo said. “You never want to think bad thoughts about tearing something.
“You know guys who have tears during the season, and you say, ‘I hope it never happens to me.’ It happened to me.
“All types of things go through your head. You get mixed feelings from different people.
“You have to put the mental cap on and show what you can do. Pat helped me a lot, during the season and the off-season, to get back.”
After sitting out last year’s training camp, Rambo hasn’t missed a session in this spring, and he’s happy about that.
This off-season was a chance to go through the normal routine of preparation, and at age 32, he feels as strong as ever.
“I got a chance to rest my legs a bit,” Rambo said. “Last year, I was rehabbing as soon as I was done with surgery. Off-season was like in season for me. I was working hard the whole time to get ready.
“This off-season that just passed, I took about a month off and relaxed my knee so it could get back strong and healthy. I got back into the regular routine.”