Kosmos would 'love' to be part of Ottawa team

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

As a captain of the 1976 Ottawa Rough Riders that had just won the Grey Cup, linebacker Mark Kosmos flashed ecstatic fans the victory sign and remembers vividly what they gave him in return.

The moment of a lifetime.

"They just erupted in cheers. It was such an amazing feeling," Kosmos said yesterday during his induction to the Nepean Sports Wall of Fame at the Sportsplex. "If I could give everybody I know that feeling for two minutes, you'd never, ever feel like you missed something again in your life."

Thirty-three years after Ottawa's last CFL championship, Kosmos would like nothing more than to help give his adopted hometown another winning football team.

If the Jeff Hunt-led ownership group is successful in securing a stadium deal that would remove the "conditional" tag on the franchise it has been granted by the league, Kosmos would be eager to climb aboard.

"There's no question, I'd love to be involved in their organization," he said.

Part-owner of the thriving Local Heroes chain, Kosmos represents one of the more famous and respected faces from Ottawa's pigskin glory days. But his is also not the only one still spotted around the nation's capital.

"I think this is one of the keys," he said of grooming a successful club. "If we can take all the (ex-players) that live in the city, who are graduates from 50, 60 universities and colleges, whether they be in the U.S. or Canada, and say to each one of those guys, 'Hey, how about contacting the coach, and telling him we're looking for good ball players. Is there anybody there?'

"In my case, if I contacted Oklahoma and said, if there's something that you think is a good player, but he doesn't have the size to play in the NFL and would be perfect for the CFL ... that gives us a start, where you don't need a player personnel guy (right away). All we need is a letter to just initiate it. When you think of some of the colleges ... you're just giving yourself a better array of talent to look at an earlier stage, it just gives us the ability to speed up finding people and letting them know what's up here."

Kosmos was one of those people himself. As a senior at his high school in Baltimore, he weighed just 165 lbs. At college, he topped out at 212.

When he graduated from Oklahoma, legendary Sooners coach Chuck Fairbanks offered him a job coaching the freshman team.

But Kosmos wasn't done chasing his dream.

"I tried out for the (Baltimore) Colts and I got cut, I tried out for the (Philadelphia) Eagles and I got cut, but I kept trying," he said, repeating a message he now shares with young athletes today. "It was great for me to have people, if they saw you wanted to go in the right direction, to give you a little push."

Kosmos was ultimately pointed north. In eight years spent with the Alouettes, Ticats and Rough Riders, he was in four Grey Cups and was on the victorious team each time.

"To have the opportunity to get to where I got, from where I started, I think I'm the luckiest guy in the world," said the two-time league all-star.

He's also a winner, both in business and football, and that would make Mark Kosmos a strong addition to Ottawa's newest football team.

Also inducted into the Nepean Wall of Fame yesterday were National Lacrosse League standout Jeff Zywicki, triathlete Rudy Hollywood and women's hockey pioneer Cathy Bureau.


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