Learning ropes from pros

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

These days, Marc Pilon is busy trying to get into the heads of young men hoping to play pro football.

"You'll be a never-was if you can't get it done off the field as well," he tells students of the game in their classrooms. "It doesn't matter if you have all the tools in the toolbox. This is the only pro sport where the minor leagues is school. You have to have the grades."

One of the newest Renegades defensive linemen, Pilon is anxiously preparing to host his second All Pro Football Camp, which will be held at South Nepean Park May 14-15.

He says it's different from others of its kind in that it's an "intense mini-camp" at which current pros are the coaches.

Geroy Simon, the CFL's leading receiver last year, is flying in to work with the pass catchers. Other confirmed positional coaches include the Renegades' Jason Kralt (linebackers) and Saskatchewan's Scott Gordon (defensive backs). Pilon also hopes to have Renegades QB Kerry Joseph and RB Josh Ranek.

A scouting service operated by former CFL coach Jim Barker will also be present, as will special guest Hugo Girard, Canada's World's Strongest Man.

Along with helping prepare kids for eventual tryouts, the camp also provides Pilon with the opportunity to give back to the community he grew up in.

"We tell them, do it now ... start improving your skills in Grade 9 and 10," said Pilon, a six-year CFL veteran who starred at Syracuse. "Then you're prepared when it's time to showcase yourself down south. I really want to get involved in minor football here, to give back."

The $150 cost for the camp includes two, seven-hour sessions, a jersey, meals and an autographed picture of the player and his positional coach.

Registration can be done on-line, at www.allprofootball.ca. and more information is available by calling Paul Deek at (613) 733-8555.

SIGNINGS: The Renegades announced the signing of two imports yesterday -- DB Quincy Coleman and LB Ray Holdcraft to one-year, plus an option deals. Coleman, 29, was picked up off waivers from the Eskimos, while Holdcraft, 26, comes to Ottawa from University of Utah.


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