Duval ready to re-kick-start career

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:53 AM ET

EDMONTON - Damon Duval has climbed down the standings to get a leg up in his football career.

The two-time defending Grey Cup champion kicker is at Edmonton Eskimos training camp after the Montreal Alouettes didnt renew his contract in January.

They really didnt say a whole lot, Duval said, following his first practice with the Eskimos Tuesday morning. Im coming to my free-agent point in my contract. From their organization and business standpoint, they were going to go in a different direction. Bottom line, that was really it.

And now its time for something new as Duval joins his brother-in-law and current Eskimos slotback Brad Smith, whose father, Larry, is the Alouettes president.

If its enough to make your head spin, just know that Duval comes into training camp with no hard feelings on the past and clean slate on the future.

I was very content with saying if I never played another down of football, Im good with that, said Duval, who moved back with his family to Auburn, Tenn., before getting the call from the Eskimos. I think, if you talk to any athlete, that fire and that burn to play and that desire is always there.

Though, he admits, it faded for him towards the end in Montreal.

I had to go back and find what I enjoyed about football, and that was having fun and the relationship with the guys, the coaches. That team atmosphere, he said. And unfortunately, that last year or two in Montreal, I wasnt enjoying what I was doing. I didnt enjoy going to work every day.

Thats not a knock on their organization or team, but my personal feelings.

One day in Edmonton erased any bad memories. And not just because the last time he was here, he was hoisting the Grey Cup, either.

Its always great to come on the field and walk away knowing youre going to be getting a new championship ring, said Duval, who has already earned the ring, but still has to work for his spot on the roster. What happened last year, in all honesty, is the best thing that could ever happen to me.

Its given me that rebirth and the opportunity to come and show an organization and the city that Ive still got everything. Im still that all-star kicker and punter that I was.

But that was when he was surrounded by all-star talent in Montreal.

Every team every year is going to have changes. For me, its really for them to be giving me the opportunity to come and win a job, Duval said. Just because I am here today, that doesnt mean this is my job. They have Derek Schiavone, who has been here the last few years and is a great guy and great athlete and great kicker.

Going from the top of the heap in Montreal to the bottom of the West Divisions barrel in Edmonton, standings-wise, doesnt phase the 31-year-old kicker.

For the organization to give me that opportunity to come and to show my skills and to possibly be able to continue to help them on that journey to get where everybody wants this team to be is definitely a great situation for me, he said. My whole goal is just to come in and try and do my part.

I have to just continue putting my best foot forward and make it happen every day.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/Gerry_EdmSun


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