30-year-old rookie

PAUL FRIESEN, SPORTS COLUMNIST

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

They're supposed to be rookies, many fresh out of college and trying to get their feet wet in the pro game.

So what's a grizzled, 30-year-old defensive end like Jauron Dailey doing smacking heads with the kids at Blue Bomber camp the last few days?

'HAD TO SIT OUT'

"It's an unusual combination," Dailey admitted yesterday. "When I was younger I just caught a couple of bad breaks. I had to sit out for a while."

The first time Dailey was a rookie, at the NFL mini-camp of the Washington Redskins, was way back in 2001.

"Two days before mini-camp ended, I tore my ACL," he recalled. "It was a freak accident -- guy stepped on my foot."

The next year, the product of Florida A&M hurt his foot in what he calls an off-field incident.

That was a week before he was to attend the Redskins main camp.

Another season wiped out.

Along came '03, when his Redskins defensive co-ordinator, Marvin Lewis, took over as the head man in Cincinnati.

As camp approached, Lewis offered Dailey a spot with the Bengals.

But hard luck hit again.

"The day before he called in '03, my father passed away," Dailey said. "So they told me to go handle the funeral and a couple weeks later they would give me a call. I got back and they never called. They probably got somebody else, because training camp was getting ready to start."

One last chance came along in '04, but a promise never materialized into an offer.

"After that I was fed up," Dailey said. "Didn't do anything. In '05, I didn't do anything."

At least, where football was concerned. Instead, he dabbled in real estate and started a trucking company.

But one day some friends convinced him to play semi-pro ball, and the bug bit Dailey again.

'GOTTA MAKE A LIVING'

A year with the Atlanta Prime and another with the Columbus Lions of the World Indoor League left him with a highlight tape that eventually brought him to Canada.

"In a sense I went all the way back down to the bottom -- play for free," Dailey said. "It feels like I'm starting all over. I'd play this for free. But, unfortunately, we gotta make a living."


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