A day in the Life with Milt Stegall

JULIE HORBAL -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Milt Stegall has the title of best looking man in the Canadian Football League.

Milt Stegall is the holder of two CFL records and two Winnipeg Blue Bombers records.

And though it is hard to consider him ordinary when he hits the field, Milt Stegall says he is just your average, ordinary guy.

And his day-to-day routine certainly justifies that.

"My life is pretty uninteresting," said the 36-year-old Stegall, whose charisma and character have made him a local favourite over his 12 seasons with the Blue and Gold. "I know because I look so good you think I live a rock-star life. But my life is pretty boring."

For Stegall, the pre-game routine is basic and ultimately just includes living life the same way he does every other day -- thinking about football, football and football, and how he can make himself the best.

"I'm not superstitious about nothing. I know a lot of guys are, but I am not and I don't believe in luck," Stegall said. "I just make sure I'm mentally and physically prepared. As far as little things I like to do, there's really nothing I like to do."

The biggest difference between a practice day and game day in the Stegall house is bedtime. The night before a game, the Turtle Man stays up until 1 or 2 a.m. to allow himself to sleep past his normal internal alarm clock, which goes off around 4 or 5 a.m.

Once he's up, Stegall reads the Bible, eats a bowl of cereal, relaxes and takes a nap. Then it's up, another bite to eat and off to the races.

"I like to get to the stadium pretty early," said Stegall, who starts his pre-game warm-ups with a dip in the hot and cold tubs before venturing outside.

"I walk around the field and collect my thoughts a little, then go to our Bible study where we have a chapel service for a few hours."

Once he is spiritually centred, the Cincinnati product goes back outside and runs until he's "sweating real good." He stretches, practices with the team, and then -- as he puts it so simply -- "we play the game."

Unlike many of his teammates, Stegall is not one for respecting a streak or growing out the proverbial playoff beard if something works or doesn't during the season.

He just gets ready and gets the job done -- and it has always been that way.

"I don't worry about what I wear, the same shirt, the same whatever. Whatever's comfortable, that's what I'm going to wear," said Stegall, whose lack of horseshoes and rabbit's feet has seen him set CFL single-season records for touchdowns and receiving touchdowns.

"As far as I'm concerned I'm pretty much boring. I say if I'm prepared mentally and physically, I don't have to be counting on superstition or luck for anything. I'm going to go out there and let my play handle that. It's been that way since I've been playing football."

The former Miami of Ohio college star functions the same way following the final whistle as he does prior to the opening one -- just like your "average Joe."

If his wife Darlene and infant son Chase are in town, which they are through much of the season, he goes to the player lounge and eats with them. Otherwise he heads home or sometimes to Earls -- not the Gentleman's Club as is suggested by some antagonistic teammates -- and "never" goes partying after the game.

Stegall doesn't party on non-game days either, choosing an early-to-bed, early-to-rise system he says is embedded in his genes.

"I think that comes from my father," Stegall said of his early-bird tendencies. "I always saw how early he got up and I've been waking up early for 20 years. I don't even need an alarm clock to wake up anymore."

The one-time Cincinnati Bengal gets to the field earlier for practices than games, works out in the gym and then heads into meetings.

He gets his game tapes on DVD and saves his homework for home -- where he heads almost immediately following practice.

"It's pretty simple," he laughs. "I might go to the grocery store or run some errands, then I'm in until the next morning. Unless I go to someone's place to eat. Every now and then I go over to somebody's house who is cooking, because I don't like to cook, but I like to eat."

Stegall admits he doesn't have anything he considers to be a hobby and he spends his off-nights watching television, talking to his wife and taking care of the real estate business he dabbles in in Atlanta, where he and his family spend the winters.

Close friend Joe Montford has apparently tried to figure out what Stegall's hobbies might be and the pair have come up with three possibilities -- two of which are collecting two-dollar bills and working out.

And Stegall admits even those aren't very interesting.

"I don't do interesting stuff like some guys. I don't play the video games like a lot of these suckers do," he said, noting a few habits he won't call hobbies.

"I like to read a little bit. I like non-fiction, I like reality. And I read the Bible every day. It keeps me grounded."

So what's the third "official" hobby?

"I like looking at my beautiful self in the mirror, I guess you could consider that a hobby," he said, with an expression so deadpan it's unclear whether to laugh or raise an eyebrow.

"I think everybody else likes looking at me, too. Every time I look in the mirror it smiles back at me."


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