Peterson has mission in life

As the Renegades' third-string quarterback, Paul Peterson will probably find himself stuck in the...

As the Renegades' third-string quarterback, Paul Peterson will probably find himself stuck in the middle of things when it comes to playing time this season behind No. 1 pivot Kerry Joseph and backup Brad Banks. (Ottawa Sun/Jason Ransom)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

KEMPTVILLE -- Being on a mission to a foreign land is nothing new for Renegades quarterback Paul Peterson.

He's left the U.S. to give it a shot north of the border in the CFL.

But six years ago, he went a mission of a different sort.

As a devout Mormon, he followed in the footsteps of his father and some of his older brothers on a mission to Nicaragua to teach people his faith.

He was 19 when he travelled there and spent two years in the Central American nation before returning to the U.S. to play football.

"You go in there like a 19-year-old punk and you come out a man," said Peterson after yesterday morning's practice session with the Renegades at Kemptville College.

HUMBLED BY EXPERIENCE

"You see different things that open your eyes and it humbles you."

Peterson made many friends in Nicaragua and remains struck by the joy of the people there, many of whom lived in conditions well below North American standards.

That mission helps Peterson put his efforts on the gridiron in perspective.

"Football is just a game, but I guess now, it's a profession," he said. "It's still fun, but there's things that are a lot more important in this life than just playing football."

The thing is, Peterson can play the game pretty well.

He was an all-state high school quarterback in Utah and an all-star in Snow College in the same state before moving up to Boston College for the last two college seasons.

Last year, he became the only starting quarterback in school history to begin his career with six straight wins, a feat not even the great Doug Flutie can claim.

In his last game with Boston College, in the Continental Tire Bowl against North Carolina, the 24-year-old had a standout game completing 24 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns before breaking a leg during the second half.

The Screaming Eagles won 37-24, and Peterson received the game's MVP honour despite the second-half injury.

'A SMOOTH CUSTOMER'

In Kemptville, Peterson is trying to get accustomed to a new style of game, but QBs coach Tommy Condell said he's learning quickly.

"He has the natural ability to be on the move and make plays," said Condell. "The guy knows how to win, he's been in big games. The guy's a smooth customer."

Peterson got to know a little about the CFL from Flutie, who would work out with some of the Eagles during the off-season.

"I know that my boy Flutie came up here and lit it up, so I talked to him a little bit about the CFL."

Peterson doesn't expect a lot of action this year with Kerry Joseph and Brad Banks holding the top two quarterbacking spots.

"Right now, I'm just trying to soak it all in and I'm just trying to learn from the guys that have been here," he said. "I'm just trying to get the offence down, trying to play to the best of my ability and do good in these upcoming games and get a chance to play and showcase my ability."


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