Financial strain compounded by practice roster

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Jermese Jones is a 6-foot-6, 337-pound offensive lineman for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

His size makes clothes shopping a difficult task for the 26-year-old from Durham, N.C., but living on a CFL practice roster wage makes it almost impossible.

"I haven't done as much shopping since I've been on the practice roster as I have in the past," Jones said.

Players on the Bombers practice roster -- reserves who aren't injured -- earn $500 a week, and that's before taxes.

That's works out to an annual salary of about $25,000 a year. Pay the bills, buy some food, figure out how to get around, treat yourself to a movie, and you're left with not much in the old bank account.

If you needed an indication of how far pro athletes are willing to go to chase their dreams, that's it.

Watch every cent

Jones started 13 games for the Bombers last season, and he was on the opening-game roster this year. He broke his hand in Game 2, however, and ended up on injured reserve.

Now he's healthy, which means he has to watch every cent that leaves his wallet.

"For groceries I go to SuperStore, and I try to get enough things to last me at least two weeks or so, so I don't have to go every other day," he said.

"I'm a movie guy. I definitely haven't been to the movies as much this year as I have in the past. I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but I just haven't."

The fourth-year CFLer pointed out that many American players are supporting families or even businesses back home. Landing on the practice roster can be devastating.

So much so that sometimes they have to quit the team, go back home and find a regular job that pays more.

"That practice roster money isn't helping out at all, especially when they convert that money over to U.S. dollars," Jones said.

Jones is also in that category, because a lot of what he does in the off-season depends upon how much money he makes up here in Canada.

"It's affecting me a lot financially by not playing," he said.


Videos

Photos