Joseph willing to do whatever it takes

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

He is the man many Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans coveted in the dispersal draft. And while most would admit to being thrilled with the job centre Obby Khan has done since joining the Blue and Gold and the emergence of Kevin Glenn as the man at the controls, some still wonder where the Blue and Gold might be if general manager Brendan Taman could have pulled the trigger on a deal to select quarterback Kerry Joseph with the first overall selection.

But the fact of the matter is that we'll never know, since Joseph has settled in with his new team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Joseph, who brings the Green Riders to town this week for his first appearance in the Banjo Bowl at Canad Inns Stadium, didn't spend much time worrying about where he might end up after the Ottawa Renegades closed up shop.

"It was a little disappointing that the team in Ottawa was no longer there and you feel (bad) because a lot of guys weren't going to be able to play football this year," Joseph said from Regina. "It was a process of just waiting and hoping things would work out. You wanted to be in a good situation but you wanted to have a job."

There was no concern Joseph would be able to find work and yes, he heard the rumblings about the Blue Bombers interest in him.

"I heard that speculation also, but at the time you just want to go somewhere, be part of a team and contribute," said Joseph. "I just thought however it works out, I'm going to give it my all. Once I had word Saskatchewan was going to get me, I was excited about it."

Despite missing two games with an injury, Joseph has done a nice job adjusting to life in the Queen City, where passion is often on display, win or lose.

Has Joseph been surprised by the 'Rider Priders?

"It's not much of a surprise because I've heard about it before," he said. "You just have to get used to it. No matter where you go, people are going to realize who you are and you just have to carry yourself in a certain way."

"It's been good. I came into a good situation with a good organization, a great coaching staff and a team that was loaded with talent. I was really excited about coming here."

Prior to coming to the CFL, Joseph piled up an extensive resume. Before signing as a free agent with the Renegades in 2003, Joseph spent time in the NFL and the World League, where he played a variety of positions.

After leaving McNeese State, the Louisiana product signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals and earned a roster spot as the third quarterback on the depth chart.

"It was a great experience, an opportunity to learn the game," said Joseph. "It was a dream come true actually. I wish I would have gotten more of an opportunity but things work out for a reason. I really enjoyed working with starter Jeff Blake (now with the Oakland Raiders) and quarterback coach Kenny Anderson (who starred with the Bengals in the 1980s), a guy who had played the position for a long time. It's too bad I only got to study one year under him."

To keep his QB dream alive, Joseph suited up for the London Monarchs of the World League in 1997 but didn't see much game action. "It was a good experience to travel elsewhere and to play football in another country," said Joseph. "That was a great experience as a young guy growing up."

He was signed by the Washington Redskins later that year but moved to tailback during training camp.

"It was tough," said Joseph. "To play the position of running back, some guys have a knack for it because they've played it their whole life. It was my first time so it was a tough adjustment for me. I did my best and proved myself on special teams and it paid off in the long run."

That long run was just beginning and when the spring of 1998 rolled around, Joseph had to endure another position change as he shifted from tailback to defensive back.

This move was easier to adjust to, thanks to his familiarity with offensive schemes from running an offence.

"It was just a matter of learning the game from that side," Joseph explained. "I practised a little bit of defensive back in high school, so the contact wasn't a problem. It was just learning the terminology of it and understanding the concept of a defence, but it helped because I knew what the offence was trying to do to the defence. That helped me make the transition a little smoother."

Joseph spent the spring playing safety with the Rhein Fire of the World League, then was signed by the Seattle Seahawks, where he would spend the next four seasons.

Highlights were plentiful but Joseph won't forget his first NFL interception.

"It was against Buffalo and against a great quarterback who played up here, Doug Flutie," he said, recalling his pick at home against the Bills in 1999.

"Moments like that, you're always going to hold onto. Playing in stadiums like (Arrowhead) in Kansas City and the Kingdome in Seattle."

Another one of the big thrills was playing with Warren Moon, the legendary CFLer and NFLer.

Although he didn't get much of a chance to pick Moon's brain about quarterbacking during his time in Seattle, Joseph was thrilled to see his former teammate enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this summer.

"I was glad to see him inducted, it was a great honour for him and his family," said Joseph. "It gives guys (in the CFL) hope. You never know what road the good Lord is going to take you down."

Joseph was released by the Seahawks in 2002, but his dream of being a starting quarterback again was very much alive as he inked a deal with the Renegades.

"I knew it was different, with the (number) of guys on the field but I knew it was a great style of football and you can have a lot of fun playing it," said Joseph. "I just tried to grasp that and make the best of it when I came to Ottawa."

Based on his progression the past few seasons, it looks like the best is yet to come for Joseph.

"You've got to have that mental toughness to get better each week and each year," he said. "I took that mentality coming into the CFL. Continue to learn every week and try to get better. It's a challenge that I brought on myself coming into this league. I know the quarterback position is under the spotlight around the league."


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