Veteran Esk Joseph young at heart

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 PM ET

EDMONTON - It's been two years since Kerry Joseph made his last CFL start.

Make that since Kerry Joseph, 37, made his last CFL start.

"In the world of professional sports, you hear you're starting to get old when you're 36, 37. When they throw your name, they throw your age," said the Edmonton Eskimos backup quarterback, who is slated to start Friday's pre-season opener in Regina (7 p.m., 630 CHED, TSN). "But you take a 26-year-old that sits on the couch all day, his body's going to feel like it's 45, 46.

"If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. I try to not let that affect me. I try to use it a little bit to show that, hey, I still can get it done."

As was proven by Boston Bruins champion goalie Tim Thomas, also 37, who this week became the oldest player to win the NHL's Conn Smythe Trophy.

Of course, hockey isn't football and Thomas doesn't have 300-pound defenders breathing down his neck, but the point is it's never too late for an athlete.

"It never is. It's what you do with your body," Joseph said. "If you listen to him talk, over the years he took care of his body. He continued to prepare to be the athlete that he is. That's how things happen for you.

"I always hear people say, ‘You're lucky.' Well, to me luck is when preparation meets opportunity. (Thomas) was prepared, he had the opportunity and you know what? Things worked out for him."

As for Joseph, his next opportunity should come on Friday.

"He's probably going to be the guy that starts and we're going to have him execute with the first (team offence)," said head coach Kavis Reed. "We haven't put a timetable on when we're going to take him out.

"I expect that there will be some rust. He hasn't played in a game situation in a very long time, but I expect him to have the leadership skills that we want and I expect him to execute the simple plays. I don't expect him to go out and have 100% completions."

Joseph's expectations revolve around something more tangible than statistics.

"Actually, I'm looking for that first hit. It's been since 2009 since I really got hit. But the body feels good," said Joseph. "I know there will be a little bit of nervousness, I haven't felt that in a while. But to have a whole year off, I just have to make sure I get in the flow of the game and not try to do too much."

While he was picked up by the Eskimos for a short stint at the end of last season, he only dressed for one game and didn't take a snap.

"It's been tough just being away from the game knowing you've still got something in the tank," said Joseph, whose pre-season performances could secure the No. 2 job. "I know my role, I knew coming in Ricky was the guy. Now I just want to get my feet wet and just execute and put myself in position behind him as the No. 2 guy.

"This is where it starts. It started from Day 1 when I got here and now I have the opportunity to put it on the field in a game situation."

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/Gerry_EdmSun


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