Kerry Joseph likes Saskatchewan but he's an Eskimo now
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Edmonton quarterback Kerry Joseph says last week's win over the Ticats shows how effective the Eskimos offence can be. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - He’s won a Grey Cup with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but on Saturday, Kerry Joseph will be looking for his first win against them.
This week has been a trip down memory lane for the 39-year-old, 16-season veteran of professional football, with Ottawa announcing a new franchise in the 2014 CFL season — a full 10 years since he joined the league with the Renegades, and Joseph preparing to face a team he built some of his best football memories with.
But it’s the future that concerns Joseph, who was named the Eskimos starting quarterback for the rest of the 2012 season last week and plans to make the most of his opportunity.
“Saskatchewan, the fans, that organization was great to me for two years, and they still are,” said Joseph, who was taken first-overall in the dispersal draft when the Renegades folded and spent the 2006 and ‘07 seasons in Regina. “When I go back there, you get the warm welcome from the fans, but you get to the point now where time has passed and my focus now is on winning the Grey Cup for this organization here, and my teammates.
“At the end of the day, I bleed Green and Gold now and this is where it’s at for me.”
But back in 2006, Joseph was the starter in Saskatchewan, in front of current Eskimos quarterbacks coach Marcus Crandell and a third-stringer by the name of Darian Durant.
When Joseph followed the money to Toronto following that championship season, Durant assumed the starting role from his mentor.
“We stay in touch during the off-season. I’m always watching to see what he’s doing,” said Joseph. “I truly have a lot of respect for him, just the success he’s had in this league.
“I saw a young man who was humble and eager to learn and hungry to be great. You see that now, he’s a student of the game and understands how to win football games.”
Which has been the case in Durant’s last five starts, while he looks for his sixth against a former teacher.
“I’m not taking any credit,” Joseph said. “I just wanted to give him all the things I understood about being a professional athlete, being a quarterback and he’s just taken that and run with it.”
That’s not to say the proverbial torch has officially been passed or anything.
“I’m always up for the challenge,” Joseph said. “There are no personal battles going on, but we’re very competitive so I know we’ll always have that edge.
“I love the fact that he’s wearing the No. 4 over there.”
Which belonged to Joseph at one time.
Saturday is the third installment of the battle of the straw curtain, with Saskatchewan taking the first meeting 17-1 and Edmonton coming off the bye week with a 28-20 victory.
But this is the first time the Roughriders defence will see Joseph at the Eskimos helm.
“They’ll see a little difference. I don’t want to give things away (but) it will be different,” said Joseph, who had 359 yards on 24-of-39 completions with three touchdowns and two interceptions in last week’s win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. “I’m not sure what they’re going to read or anything, so it will be a little different.
“At the same time, what you saw Friday night is the offence that we know that we can be. And that’s what we want to duplicate.”