Home where Morley's heart is

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Steve Morley is a mama's boy.

The 6-foot-7, 307-pound guy in the corner of the Bomber locker-room had no trouble becoming a professional football player.

Leaving home to become a professional football player? That was a different story.

"That first season in Calgary, that was probably the hardest thing, just leaving home," said Morley, who was 21 at the time.

"It was probably harder leaving home than it was to actually play pro. That was the biggest difference."

Morley was born and raised in Halifax and attended St. Mary's University, all the while living at home. Those comforts obviously allowed him to focus on football, because he was the first overall pick of the Stampeders in the 2003 CFL draft.

When he headed all the way across the country to Cowtown, he was like a fish out of water.

"I didn't know how to pay bills, how to buy my own meals, how to get around town," Morley said. "I always lived close to my school, and I'd always get picked up and my meals were made for me and stuff."

Like he mentioned, being a pro football player was the easy part, and it showed. He started nine games at left tackle for the Stampeders in 2003, and the NFL's Green Bay Packers were impressed enough to offer him a contract the following winter.

Morley dressed for a regular season game with the Packers in 2004 before getting traded to the New York Jets, with whom he dressed for seven games in 2005.

After getting released and not playing football in 2006, he failed to land starting roles in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the last two years before signing with the Bombers in February.

He has started every game this season at left tackle, and the Bombers have given up the fewest sacks boast the league's second-leading rusher in Fred Reid.

Morley said former CFL offensive lineman and fellow Nova Scotian Bruce Beaton is a big reason why he decided to pursue football when all of his friends were playing other sports.

"I went to one of his camps in high school," Morley said. "Everything he told me, I remember. It was a big impact on my life. I used to watch him play. I knew he made it out of Nova Scotia, so I thought I had a chance to."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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