Win the birthday wish for Joseph

Eskimos quarterback Kerry Joseph says he only had one birthday wish on Thursday: a win over the...

Eskimos quarterback Kerry Joseph says he only had one birthday wish on Thursday: a win over the Ticats on Friday. (QMI Agency/DAVID BLOOM)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:49 PM ET

EDMONTON - Kerry Joseph has come a long way from running the Edmonton Eskimos scout offence as a member of the practice squad in 2010.

But it was the first step in a long journey that saw him reach the CFL’s pinnacle as the most outstanding player in 2007, only to wind up without a team to play on three years later, prior to Edmonton’s call midway through the season.

“In 2010, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get another opportunity to step on the field again,” said Joseph, who ended up outlasting Jared Zabransky, Jason Maas and Ricky Ray on the roster since then. “But I still had that passion, I still had that desire. I trained and I still believed.”

It turned out the Eskimos did as well, having him suit up as their starting quarterback one day after blowing out 39 candles on his birthday cake.

On Friday, his task is to guide the Eskimos out of a five-game losing streak.

And there’s only one thing he has wished for.

“A win (Friday) night,” he said. “I’m thankful, blessed, to see another year in life and am just focused on (Friday).

“That would be one of the best gifts you could get, to break this five-game losing streak.”

Joseph received an early present this week when head coach and newly named offensive co-ordinator Kavis Reed listed him as the team’s QB1 for the remainder of the regular season, opting for the experience the 16-year veteran of pro football brings.

“People put limitations on you when it comes to your age and things like that,” Joseph said. “But as players, when you have that competitive drive and a love of the game, and you understand what it takes to be a professional, you do the things right.”

That means off the field and in the classroom, as well.

“When you do those things, you have the opportunity to prolong your career,” said the professional personal trainer. “If you take care of your body, if you can stay healthy, things work in your favour.”

It comes down to controlling what he can and not worrying about what he can’t.

“I knew once I came to the CFL, I did have a goal in mind to actually play until I was 40,” said the former Seattle Seahawk and Cincinnati Bengal, who also played in NFL Europe and joined the Ottawa Renegades in 2003. “I figure if I take care of my body, continue to learn and continue to get better each and every year, that I can put myself in that situation.”

While he has yet to register a win in his three games as a starter this season, Joseph has put up the best numbers of any Eskimos quarterback in a stretch this season: 65 of 95 for 876 yards, 68.4% completions, 3 touchdown passes and an interception for a passer rating of over 100.

“Numbers mean nothing when you don’t come out with the win,” he said. “At the end of the day, people remember you for wins and losses. They don’t remember that you threw for 700 yards, but you lose the game that could have put your team in the playoffs.

“Stats are stats for the media.”

FULL MOON: Legendary Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has been added to the panel discussion at the annual Eskimos Fundraising Dinner Oct. 23 at the Shaw Conference Centre.

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gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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