EDMONTON - It’s his first time ever on a professional football team’s practice roster, but Kerry Joseph will take it.
The eight-year CFL veteran quarterback and former Seattle Seahawks safety ran the Edmonton Eskimos scout-team offence and shadowed Ricky Ray in his first practice with his new team Wednesday.
Remembering back, Joseph thought at first he might have been on the practice squad of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996 — his first professional stop after graduating from McNeese State.
“No, no,” Joseph corrected himself. “It wasn’t even 1996 because I was activated. I was the third quarterback in ’96, so I never was on a practice roster.”
And considering he is just three seasons removed from winning the Grey Cup and earning the CFL Most Outstanding Player award, it didn’t look like he would ever have to be on one.
“Sometimes life finds a way of humbling you and seeing if you’re humble enough to take certain experiences,” Joseph said. “Sometimes as an athlete, you’re up here the whole time and sometimes you get knocked down but it’s life. And you have to humble yourself and keep walking.”
His path carried him to his fourth CFL city, where he hopes to fit in with whatever plan the team has in store for him.
His first job is becoming familiar with their offensive schemes, terminology and lingo.
“I don’t think it will take me long,” said Joseph, who sat in on morning meetings prior to Wednesday’s practice. “Just watching film and listening to them call the routes out in different formations, they make it easy for you.
“It’s just getting the terminology down. A lot of it is stuff I’ve already done. I’m just going to digest it. I don’t have anything else to do. It’s cold, so I’m not going out anywhere.”
He’s been around the league long enough to know the barely freezing temperature he experienced at practice Wednesday can hardly be referred to as ‘cold.’
“Ah, I know what you’re going to say: Big difference,” said Joseph, who flew in from Louisiana Tuesday evening. “It was mid-80 degrees Farenheit out there in New Orleans. It’s a big adjustment, of course it’s going to take your body a little bit to get acclimated to it.
“What outweighs it all and blocks that out is, man, I’m back out here with a uniform on. I’m out here with a helmet on so you don’t feel the cold. I got the joy and everything in my body, the adrenaline’s going. So I’m just happy to be back out.”
As enthusiastic as he is to return to pro football, Joseph isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I just want to take it one day at a time, one week at a time and help this team get to the playoffs, make a run at that Grey Cup and then go from there,” he said. “I don’t look at this as being a temporary thing. I look at coming back into this league and make this — what I guess you could call this — last phase of my career.”