Montford waitin'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

He's a three-time winner of the CFL's top defensive player award and one of the most tenacious pass-rushers in league history. But these days, the only people Joe Montford is running down are his two young daughters.

Montford was released by the Edmonton Eskimos in the off-season, months after the club's 38-35 overtime Grey Cup win over Montreal.

Since then, Montford has waited patiently to join another CFL club, but nothing concrete has surfaced, leaving Montford to spend his days working as a personal trainer and helping his wife, an accountant for UPS in Atlanta, care for their daughters, aged four and just 11 months.

"I miss the game, I miss being able to compete at a high level, I miss being around my teammates," Montford said Wednesday via telephone. "Fortunately living in Atlanta, I don't get to see games that much so it hasn't been as tough as it would be if I was still living in Canada.

"But I still feel I can play at a high level for two more years."

The six-foot-one, 235-pound Montford had a team-high 10 sacks last year and was Edmonton's nominee for the CFL's top defensive player award, which ultimately went to Calgary linebacker John Grace.

In April the Eskimos released Montford for financial reasons. It was a bitter blow for a five-time CFL all-star and two-time Grey Cup champion who led the league in sacks four straight seasons ('98 to 2001).

Last week, it appeared Montford might return to Hamilton for a third stint because of injuries to rush ends James Cotton (broken thumb) and Tim Cheatwood (sprained knee). But the Ticats signed Anthony Collier, a late cut of the Eskimos, while Cheatwood started in the club's 32-14 home loss to Montreal.

"It's not about money now," Montford said. "I thought (returning to Hamilton) would've been a perfect scenario.Even if it would've been for a short time, I think I would've been able to help the other guys because for most of my career whatever team I've been on, that team has been on top or near the top in sacks. I've always been able to do things that help other guys get sacks."


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