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JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

After passing his medical and declaring he has no hard feelings toward Eskimos management, Donald Brady projected the image that life is simple and easy these days.

But in reality, officially returning to the Green and Gold yesterday was difficult for the 32-year-old halfback.

"It was probably the toughest decision I have ever had to make," said Brady.

After being axed by the Eskimos in June, Brady returned to his parents' home in New York to help care for his father, who has been stricken with a fast-moving case of cancer.

"I was starting to get comfortable there and it was a big help for my mom," he said.

"It relieved a lot of pressure for her."

The prostate cancer afflicting Brady's dad has moved into bones and lymph nodes. Seeing his father in that condition is tough.

"It's tough to see a guy who has been the man of the house - taking care of the yard, constantly working - and now not doing anything all day.

"He's just sitting down because something is eating away at him," said Brady, away from the spotlight of the TV cameras, during his first day back in the Eskimo locker-room.

"He was happy that the Eskimos called, but he was also sad because he was happy for my help."

The Eskimos also need his help - and football eventually swayed his mind.

"This is what I love to do," he said.

"Life goes on. You just can't stop your life due to unfortunate incidents. My dad wouldn't want me to stop my life."

And in typical Brady style, he still shoots from the hip when it comes to football, as well.

Although it was just Day 1 with the Eskimos again, he didn't shy away from criticizing his teammates in the secondary for their stunning meltdown against Winnipeg.

That would be the incident when Milt Stegall got behind one side of the backfield for a last-second 100-yard game-winning touchdown.

"I definitely saw it and I was really cussing at some of the players - Keyuo (Craver), you know," said Brady.

"I was at home and I couldn't believe (it). You've got to be smarter in situations like that. You just have to learn that the game is never over."

Brady feels he can play in the next game - Labour Day in Calgary.

"I'm in great shape," he said before stepping on the practice field for the first time in more than two months.

"I came to play and whenever the next game is, that is the game I want to play.

"But it is up to the coaches."

Danny Maciocia isn't ready yet to give Brady a spot on the 42-man roster this weekend.

"It's like Bill Parcells says about T.O. (Terrell Owens) - 'You got to see him practise. If you don't practise, you don't play,' " cracked the head coach, who has until Saturday afternoon to determine if Brady is fit enough for Monday.

"And I'd rather have Donny Brady than T.O., to be quite honest with you."

FINISH LINES: When Maciocia cut Brady, the staff believed they had enough talent. The coach continues to publicly proclaim his belief in his backfield.

"We are very happy with the way our secondary is playing. Shannon Garrett has played some outstanding football for us at the field halfback position, which is the position occupied by Donald Brady (last year)," Maciocia said.


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