Ex-NFLer ready to start rookie CFL season

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 PM ET

Kenneth Pettway is in a rush to start his rookie CFL season.

The Edmonton Eskimos defensive end spent the past five years with the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers, before attending his first pro football training camp north of the border.

They brought me in to do pass rush, said the six-foot-three, 248-pounder out of Grambling State. Thats what I did in the States, thats what they brought me up here to do and thats what I tried to show during training camp. I showed enough for them to have kept me here, so hopefully I can keep that going.

Defensive line coach Mike Walker said he likes what hes seen so far.

He brings explosion, he brings athletic ability at that position, which were kind of loaded with already, but its always good to have one waiting in the wings in case something happens, Walker said. He would fit right in. He plays the run well because hes so fast.

While he wont start over returning defensive ends Kai Ellis or Greg Peach, Pettway will mainly be used in situations that call for all-out pressure on the quarterback.

Next step is being able to get to the quarterback as much as possible, Pettway said. My goal is to lead in sacks and to be able to hold my position down where I need to be held down.

The CFL offers Pettway a fresh start to his career, which was interrupted by injury after playing eight games with the Packers last season.

It always feels good to get back on the football field and be able to play. Last time I played, I tore my knee up, said Pettway, who played a pair of quarters in both preseason games with the Eskimos. This is my first time playing, when I got up here so I was just overly excited to put my helmet on and hit somebody.

The first game was a new thing out there and getting used (to being) a yard off the ball. I think I had a couple off-sides getting used to that.

The extra real-estate between the defensive line and the line of scrimmage changes things.

Youve actually got to do stuff a little bit faster and use your moves a little bit later, he said. In the NFL, youre right up on each other, theres probably a foot between you where its a yard here. So youve got a little bit more time to think about what youre going to do and get to the quarterback.

And with the clock ticking down on Sundays season opener against the B.C. Lions (5 p.m., TSN), Pettways not thinking about anything else.

Its always good to get the season started, were real anxious to get to that first game and doing stuff on the field that counts, said Pettway. Everythings going towards getting to the Grey Cup, so its pretty exciting.

IN AND OUT: The Eskimos put SB Brad Smith on the one-game injured list and activated WR Tremayne Kirkland from the practice roster. DL Justin Cooper left practice Wednesday (ankle). RT Joe McGrath (flu) and LB Javier Glatt (undisclosed) didnt participate. LB Mo Lloyd (knee) returned after getting injured in the second preseason game.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos