Morey man of his word

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Sean Morey is the special teams captain of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

He summers in Toronto with his wife, Cara, and two daughters under two.

Next month, he'll regale 200 or so kids with the rudiments of rejection and its twin brother, redemption.

"I've been cut more times than I'd like to admit," he was saying from his house in the Beach. "I've been to NFL Europe three times. It took me five years to make it to the NFL.

"I'm not one of the first-round pedigree who have been handed a job, but I've had great coaches. I'm just trying to pass on the lessons that I've learned."

He had been told he is too slow and too small for as long as he could remember. The ring, of course, begs to disagree.

Quick story: It's a black-tie affair in New York and Morey is meeting legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno. Morey already had been cut by the Philadelphia Eagles, even though he was their special teams player of the year. He set 11 receiving records at Brown University, which got him noticed enough to rate a distant seventh-round choice by the New England Patriots. Mindful of the athletic advantages of a less than speedy 5-foot-10 receiver, they cut him.

"Joe knew who I was because he had gone to Brown. I said 'Joe, do you have any advice that could help propel my career and make it in the NFL? He said 'go get a real job. Don't put your family through picking up and moving from team to team. You're a smart guy, you've got a good education, go get a real job, provide for your family and enjoy your life.' "

No, go Joe.

Morey is from Marshfield, Mass., the son of a lobster fisherman. He quit football altogether in Grade 8, limped through a broken hip in Grade 10 and then, tired of the taunts of his friends, trained like a maniac to make the team as a senior. After a year of prep school he was at Brown.

That's where he met Cara. She played hockey, field and ice. Whenever they would come north, Morey would be knocked out by Canada.

"I'd visit her parents in Muskoka and I felt like I'd just hit the jackpot," he said. "We love the city, I'll always love the city."

Cara and the kids live in Pittsburgh during the season. The other half of year is spent here.

"I look back on it and I don't think there's anything more important than being happy and spending time with your family," Morey said. "The Canadian culture has sort of helped me understand that better, because in the States we're so driven with work."

Few more so than Morey.

In 47 games with the Eagles and Steelers, Morey has recorded all of one reception. But it's on special teams where he has found a living. He is the backup holder and placekicker, the wedge breaker on kick coverage, a blocker on punt returns and corner rusher defending field-goal attempts.

His camp, www.epicathlete.com, July 10-13 at the Eugene Melnyk Sports Field at St. Mike's College, will include instruction from a dozen former or current NFLers, including Torontonians Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears, Mike Labinjo of the Miami Dolphins and Kerry Carter of the Washington Redskins. The Eagles' Jason Short and Tampa's Chas Gessner also will be on hand as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers' Willie Williams.

The cost of the camp is $350, and Scotiabank is providing bursaries for 50 kids in need. The players will scrimmage on the new $2-million field provided by Melnyk, the pharmaceutical magnate and St. Mike's grad.

"There are people who have really stepped up to provide something for the kids," said Morey, who doesn't have to be asked twice to explain his motivation. "I thought 'I want to raise my kids here. I want to settle here.' I want to do my part.

"It will be the most inspiring camp anywhere."


Videos

Photos