LaRose out to impress Esks

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

J.R. LaRose is looking for a second chance to join a CFL secondary.

The former Edmonton Eskimos free safety found himself a free agent without the safety of a contract after being released a year ago.

Recovering from a broken leg at the time had thrown his training out of whack.

Needs work

But he’s back on track and looking for a job, which is the message he left Eskimos coaches with after Saturday’s annual open tryouts at Clarke Park.

“It felt good to get back on the field and just show the coaches that the leg’s 110%,” said LaRose.

“Some things were a little rusty, but other than that, my testing went pretty well. The covering, I thought I did pretty well.”

Born and raised in Edmonton, LaRose joined his hometown team in 2005 after being invited to camp as an area protected junior at just 21.

But his career was interrupted before four seasons after suffering a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg during a 2008 game.

“When it took place, I remember I was still coaching, and at field level it did look devastating,” said Eskimos general manager Danny Maciocia. “The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘This is going to take us a while before we see him back on the playing field.’ ”

Make that a year and a half, but knowing he was cut due to injury didn’t make it any easier for LaRose.

“It was tough, but I knew at the same time I wasn’t able to compete and I would be taking up a roster spot,” said the 26-year-old. “It left a bitter taste in my mouth knowing that it wasn’t due to my ability, but it also gave me more motivation to come back and really rehab.

“And I can show the coaches that I can play this game and I can still play at this level coming off a broken leg.”

LaRose spent last season playing semi-pro football with the Edmonton Stallions while training with former Eskimos teammates at Athletes Nation in St. Albert.

“Patrick Kabongo, Joe McGrath and Kamau Peterson were out there and they really pushed me, and that’s what I needed in order to come back,” LaRose said. “I had to train around guys who were at that level. They’ve been really supportive. They’ve had my back through the whole thing.”

But it’s not his back he’s thinking about now.

“I’m hungry. That year off helped me to grow as a man as well,” he said. “I took playing football for granted. When I was younger I was irresponsible in a lot of areas, but that year off I realized it’s a privilege to play. It’s not a right to play in the CFL.”

Lions & Bombers, too

Although he would like nothing more than to be back with the Eskimos, the free agent is exploring all options. He has also worked out for the B.C. Lions and plans to do more with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“It went really good considering it was raining, my coverages were great on point. I tested very well down there as well,” he said of his trip to Surrey, B.C., last week. “The coaches, I thought, liked what they saw. Time will tell what happens.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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