Hometown hero

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

The Winnipeg lad has been itching to catch passes for real for more than a year now.

Although Adam Eckert finally dressed for Montreal's first two CFL games of the regular season, he did not even get on the field. But he would love to be able to show the folks back home what he can do for real when the Alouettes come to town to play the Blue Bombers this Saturday.

"It would be exciting to play there," the Sisler grad said from his Montreal quarters recently. "That's where all my family still is and my high school buddies and stuff. That would be great."

Eckert, 28, was plucked in the sixth round of the 2005 Canadian College entry draft but spent the entire season on the practice roster.

"When I first got here, I understood the situation I was in," said Eckert, who caught five passes for 29 yards in two pre-season games versus the Bombers. "They had a lot of depth at receiver, especially Canadian receiver, and I just had to wait my turn.

"Hopefully, I'm just a blowout away from playing."

Those non-import receivers on the Montreal roster include Ben Cahoon, Dave Stala, O'Neil Wilson and Sylvain Girard.

"But I've been learning from guys like Cahoon and picking up his idiosyncrasies," Eckert said. "And (Alouettes quarterback) Anthony Calvillo helps. He gives me his insight and tells me where he expects me to be.

WON'T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED

"And I certainly won't take anything for granted when I do get my opportunity."

But because of that depth at receiver, Eckert was taken aback when Montreal did draft him in the sixth round.

"I was kind of shocked to be drafted by a team that had four 1,000-yard receivers the year before," admitted the 5-foot-11, 170-pound speedster. "But at least I'm learning from the best."

Eckert, who led Dickinson State with 30 receptions for 582 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games in 2004, was also disappointed that the Bombers didn't draft him.

"You always hope to get drafted by your hometown team," said Eckert, who also returned kicks in college. "But I was really made to feel welcome here. Montreal is a great city with lots of culture and is very scenic."

Before he was drafted, Winnipeg was the furthest east that Eckert had ever been. West was another matter, though, as Eckert played junior football in Kelowna, B.C. He joined some junior teammates at Dickinson State.

"I got offered a full ride at a time when there was not a whole lot offered from Canadian colleges," he explained. "It (Dickinson) is only a small (North Dakota) town of about 20,000 but it really grew on me."

Dickinson State is also the alma mater of Bomber legend Chris Walby -- who, by the way, was originally drafted by Montreal. In fact, Eckert had the same college head coach.

"And there is a local bar there that still has his picture up of him in a Bomber uniform," Eckert said.

Imagine that, a picture of the fun-loving Walby in an American tavern. Perhaps some day, Eckert's image will hang alongside it.


Videos

Photos