Braidwood ready to resume career

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:29 AM ET

For as much promise as he's shown in his young football career, Adam Braidwood has been accused of lacking an equal amount of focus.

Two years on the sidelines look to have fixed that problem.

The non-import defensive lineman -- drafted first overall by the Eskimos in 2006 -- is healthy, refocused and back on the field, logging time at rookie camp.

"All I want to do is play football and win this year," said Braidwood, who last played with the Eskimos in 2007 before a knee injury forced him to miss the final game of the season.

SIDETRACKED

While recovering, the Washington State product from Delta, B.C., got sidetracked with some boxing and mixed martial arts, and then reinjured his knee at training camp in 2008.

"What's encouraging is his enthusiasm to be out here," said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall, who will show Braidwood no favouritism considering the two have yet to work together on-field. "The knee is not just stable (on his body), but it's stable (in his mind). He feels very good about his situation."

And the Eskimos feel good about having a Canadian option along the defensive line that would give them room with their non-import ratio.

"It's controlled excitement," said Eskimos general manager Danny Maciocia. "There's still a lot of training camp. We still have a couple of preseason games to go but he looks really, really good considering the last two years he hasn't been able to do much."

In fact, opening day of rookie camp on Wednesday was the first time Braidwood started and finished a practice over that time.

"I feel good," Braidwood said. "I'm not limited. I did all the one-on-one pass rushes, I ran, I'm doing everything that everyone else is doing."

Which is pretty good considering Braidwood drove here from B.C. late Tuesday night before finding out he was to suit up for a formal practice the following day.

"I just thought we were doing physicals and all that," he said. "I got called into rookie camp and I'm happy to get the extra reps."

Having a chance to get a head start when main camp opens Sunday made sense to Braidwood.

'UP AND DOWN'

"The one year I missed, I was up and down. I had a bum knee and I wasn't even up here last year," he said. "The more reps I can get (the better). When the vets come in, they come in full speed. Some of these guys haven't played in the CFL, it gives me an opportunity to work."

Opportunity is something he might not have taken full advantage of early in his career, but not everyone is willing to give up on Braidwood that easily.

"I know my family and my friends believe in me because they were kind of supporting me through this whole thing," Braidwood said. "The staff and the coaches obviously believe in me or else I wouldn't be out here. That's all I care about, I'm out here to try and get a starting spot, really.

"I'm out here to win and show that I can play again."


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