Beyond the Field with Jon Oosterhuis

LINDSEY WARD -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Player: Jon Oosterhuis (defensive tackle, No. 77)

Off-field Activity: Selling vehicles.

Talk about an intimidating salesman.

At six-foot-four and nearly 300 pounds, Winnipeg Blue Bomber Jon Oosterhuis could easily scare potential car buyers into shelling out for a new ride -- then run off with the commission.

But the 30-year-old defensive tackle -- who moonlights as a sales associate at McNaught in Waverley Auto Mall -- would rather just have a nice, relaxing chat.

"I'm not a pushy salesman," insists Oosterhuis. "I enjoy just sitting down with the customer."

Oosterhuis first tackled the sales game three years ago, when a friend at McNaught asked him to join the company -- selling Pontiacs, Buicks and Cadillacs -- on an experimental basis. His prior sales experience had consisted of, well, nothing.

"I'm a farm boy," says the Fergus, Ont. native. "Most of my work before that had been construction."

That said, Oosterhuis wasn't exactly thrilled about having to wear a tie to work every day: "It's not my favourite thing in the world. Me, being one of the bigger fellows, I get warm and have to take a break."

But he was excited about the relationships he would make with customers, who, thanks to his local celebrity status, are occasionally more willing to let him work his sales magic on them.

"Some people do (recognize me) when they come in -- it helps with the process sometimes," he says, adding folks who come in looking for cars are happily distracted by football chat.

"It gives them something else to talk about besides, 'I want to buy a car.' It's a big investment."

Selling cars is now a second career for Oosterhuis, who works full-time during the off-season and once or twice a week in the summer months, following morning practices or when he has a few hours to spare between games.

"I think the enjoyable part of it is making people happy," he says. "Being able to talk to people a year later and see they're still happy. It's nice to get out to the community to work."

Besides, Oosterhuis can't afford not to work. The idea that footballers -- at least, those of the CFL variety -- lounge around poolside during the off-season couldn't be further from the truth, he says.

"Sometimes people get the impression that since we play football we have these bloated salaries and don't have to work. But I have a mortgage -- and I have car payments."


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