Extended family

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

REGINA -- In the stretch run of a defensive MVP season for the Edmonton Eskimos, Jason Goss's story off the field this year is even more remarkable.

Raising his three-year-old son without a wife in the picture in Edmonton, the defensive back is now publicly admitting he would walk away from football if he wasn't receiving tremendous support from the Eskimos.

DOUBLE DUTY

For two long stretches during this season - the entire training camp and for the last month - Goss has been pulling double duty: raising his son (Jason Jr.) and anchoring the Esks' secondary.

But it wouldn't be possible without the help of Stacey Gass - the wife of Edmonton assistant coach A.J. Gass.

While the Esks have offered other support that isn't public knowledge, Goss is able to participate in practices and go on road trips - like this three-day trip to Regina for today's game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders - because Stacey has come to the rescue.

Watching and caring for Jason Jr. during practices and on this road trip, Stacey has allowed Goss to be focused on the task of playing football while at work and able to see his son in his spare time.

"They have helped out tremendously. That lets you know how the Eskimo family is," said Goss on the help.

Added A.J. Gass, who's wife is already raising their own 18-month-old daughter Eliska: "(Stacey) is super-mom. She adores J.J. (Jason Jr.) - he's the nicest boy ever."

One look at Goss with his son and it's clear the two are best buds.

Spotted around the team this year, he doesn't leave his dad's side.

He has spent time with his mother this year, but really wants to be with his father and around the team.

"He loves being around the guys in the locker-room. He is having a blast. It is going to hurt him when the season is over," said Goss.

But the five-year CFL veteran - who leads the Esks with five interceptions and three fumble recoveries this season - is also trying to set an example for his son.

"When I was young and look back, my father wasn't always there," said Goss. "When (Jason Jr.) grows older he will see how hard I have done things."

And if Jason Jr. ever needs to ask anyone else down the road to tell him about his father's work ethic, he can go to Saskatchewan defensive back Omarr Morgan.

Goss and Morgan talk a few times a week, remaining good friends after playing together last year in Edmonton.

"Jason is a strong individual and he is an all-star (on the field)," said Morgan. "And if you meet somebody who doesn't like Goss, there is something wrong with you.

"To be going through what he has been through this off-season and season and to be playing the type of football he's playing, is unreal to me."

OPTION YEAR

Goss is slated to enter his option year next season.

But given the support from within the organization this year while he has battled family problems, he has no intention of leaving the Eskimo family.

"This is the place I want to finish my career," said Goss. "They've done so much for me."


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