Howard gets kick out of kickers

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:40 AM ET

EDMONTON - Marcus Howard might be kicking himself.

The day after Sean Fleming was added to the Edmonton Eskimos Wall of Honour, Howard was spotted wearing a pair of practice shorts with No. 11 above the knee.

But the significance of sporting Fleming’s old number around the locker-room at Commonwealth Stadium was lost on the young defensive end.

“These are just shorts, know what I’m saying? We take shorts out of the bin, I just happened to pull these shorts today” Howard said, glancing down at the green 11 on the worn, yellow . “Should it be something I need to know?”

While he hadn’t heard of Fleming before, Howard fully realized the importance of having a player’s name and number ‘retired’ by a team. Especially a long-time kicker.

“I love kickers. I don’t like all kickers, though, only when they make the field goals.” Howard said, smiling. “They’re one of the most important parts of the team. There aren’t all eyes on me like it is on them.

“Sometimes I feel bad for them but when they hit, they get all the glory.”

That kind of glory was never really in Howard’s future.

“I can’t kick a ball, I tried to play soccer when I was little but that was second grade,” said the hulking, six-foot-one, 245-pounder. “I was a big second-grader, though.

“I couldn’t play soccer, but you know what? That’s a physical sport, it might be more physical than football. No pads on, tackling and stuff like that.”

While ‘footy’ was Howard’s first foray into an eventual professional sports career, he didn’t actually start playing football until his sophomore year of high school.

“I played basketball growing up,” he said. “But I can’t play that anymore because once you stop playing, you get terrible at it.

“Maybe rugby? That’s a tough sport.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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