Esk RB making commitment ... twice!

John Goebel takes part in the first day of rookie camp in Edmonton on Wednesday. (DAVID BLOOM, QMI...

John Goebel takes part in the first day of rookie camp in Edmonton on Wednesday. (DAVID BLOOM, QMI AGENCY)

GERRY MODDEJONGE

, Last Updated: 11:02 PM ET

John Goebel isn’t afraid of commitment.

It’s a good thing, too, considering the Edmonton Eskimos running back is looking to add a couple of major ones to his life by the time the CFL preseason’s over.

After spending last year on the practice squad, he is not only looking to break onto the active roster in training camp, but to take a run at the starting spot.

He is also getting married.

And he is doing them both at the same time.

With the wedding scheduled for June 23, the 6-foot-3, 227-pound Cincinnati University product will miss the visiting B.C. Lions next week, leaving him Friday’s game at McMahon Stadium as his lone chance to shine.

“Had we known I was going to be playing in the CFL, we probably would have chosen a different date,” said Goebel, who is returning to Cincinnati for the ceremony. “At the time, we had to choose. It’s amazing how fast venues get booked.”

So Goebel was hearing wedding bells in one ear and football opportunities in the other.

“I told her my agent’s telling me things about the CFL, but she really wanted to do it,” Goebel said of his fiancee, Meka Moore. “I guess I just really love her.”

The two met in university, where Goebel was teammates with her cousin, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman.

“I thought they were dating because they always went everywhere together,” Goebel said. “I was like, ‘Ew, why are you with him?’ She was grossed out.

“I knew not to mess up with her because he would be a tough customer to deal with.”

But there is another love in his life, one that he feels whenever he steps onto the gridiron.

“One of the first things I said to coach (Kavis) Reed is, ‘I can change the date, I still have time,’ ” Goebel said. “He said, ‘Heck, no!’

“He’s an awesome guy. I really appreciate that and hopefully I’ll be able to come back after I get married.”

A lot of that will depend on how Goebel does against the Calgary Stampeders.

“I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Coach Reed said he will give me all my reps in the first preseason game,” said Goebel, who is on his way to replace Jerome Messam as the Eskimos smash-mouth, downhill rusher after packing on nearly 20 pounds of lean mass over the off-season. “Messam was great, learning under him.”

But with last year’s most outstanding Canadian joining the Miami Dolphins in the off-season, there is plenty of opportunity for Goebel and the rest of the running backs.

“It’s in God’s hands: if I make the team, I make the team. If I don’t, I don’t and I think I’ll be OK,” said Goebel.

It’s a story he may well one day tell his grandchildren. Or, better yet, he can show them. Goebel is part of a documentary with the working title Hail Mary, which has been following him and some of his fellow U.S.-based players looking to make it in the CFL.

The production is set to air in September on Rogers.

“It’s actually been pretty cool, I’ve told my parents about it,” said the marketing major, whose family is based in Detroit. “I always think of everything as an opportunity to meet more people. Who knows where it could lead.

“Hopefully it’s a happy ending.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SunModdejonge


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