Elewonibi still calls 'Peg home

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The wizard Hog draws a comparison to his former team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"Have you ever seen Lord of the Rings and that all-seeing eye searching for something?" asked Moe Elewonibi, now an all-too-human offensive lineman for the B.C. Lions. "It just seemed the last couple of years that that eye was looking for somebody to blame. There was a list and (Bomber OL Dave) Mudge (traded to Montreal) was on the list, I was on the list, other people were on the list and they're not there any more. They didn't want me, somebody else gave me a chance and move on from there."

Elewonibi has moved on, starting at tackle for the Lions as they tried to snap a four-game skid in against the Bombers at B.C. Place last night.

And the veteran takes no perverse pleasure when he looks at the horrid record of the team that let him go while playing for a squad that is challenging for its second straight Grey Cup appearance.

"I'm done, I'm not in Winnipeg any more so I don't wish them ill or anything else," said the classy O-lineman. "A little bit of it (failed negotiations with the Bombers) was my ego got in the way. But even at the end there, I enjoyed playing for coach Jim Daley. I wanted to make it work but I wasn't going to roll over and play dead."

But that meant moving to Vancouver and leaving his wife, Sareh, and two young children back in Winnipeg.

"My wife is going to nursing school so she's got two kids under five and going to nursing school full-time. I mean, she's doing a phenomenal job just not killing them," Elewonibi said with a smile. "That's been the toughest part -- being away from my family. One of the fortunate things about being in Winnipeg so long is that's where my kids were born, that's where my home is and it was always nice to come home to my family and I miss that."

Not only is his family halfway across the country but Elewonibi is now living in the same Vancouver neighbourhood that he did in the days when he was suffering from drug and alcohol addictions.

"I'm like a block away from my last, uh, den," he said with a smile. "The first week was tough here because I really didn't know what old friends were here and my family was away. Then I hooked up with a couple of people that I met through being in the program and that's made the transition a lot easier."

But why would he return to that den of temptations?

"My friend lives there, he let me stay there for free," Elewonibi said laughing.

"I'm a different person. I don't hang out with the same people I used to. I try to do things a little bit more constructively and stay away from the bad things. Just because I got into trouble here doesn't mean like there's not any other city in the world that I can still not get into the same kind of trouble.

"I'm too old to want to go out and drink all night and do drugs. I mean, I'm 40 (in December). Going to practice with 22-year-olds doesn't leave a whole lot left over for carousing at night. I talk to my family and my kids around seven -- nine their time -- and shut it down."

And the time will soon come when he will shut his career down.

"It's a decision I'll have to make," said Elewonibi, who dressed for the seventh time this year last night. "I've really enjoyed this year and it's made me re-focus on how I play football.

"Unfortunately, the last few years in Winnipeg, it seemed like I was doing more coaching than playing and that sometimes takes away from how you can perform."

NOTES: Bomber offensive lineman Matt Sheridan was carted off the field with an undisclosed injury late in the first quarter last night. Early in the second quarter, the Lions led 10-0.


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