Reid zips to Canada to continue football dream

” Jermaine Reid received a first-hand look at the unpredictable world of professional sports this past year. Reid, a heavy anchor on the University of Akron’s defensive line for three seasons, had a turbulent rookie season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League from the very beginning.”

Jermaine Reid received a first-hand look at the unpredictable world of professional sports this past year.

Reid, a heavy anchor on the University of Akron’s defensive line for three seasons, had a turbulent rookie season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League from the very beginning.

He was drafted ninth overall in the 2006 CFL Draft after his junior season at UA when he led the Zips with seven sacks and the first-ever Mid-American Conference Championship.

Reid officially signed the Ti-Cats a week before training camp started last year, a turbulent time indeed. He had to finish his classes, pack his belongings and find an apartment, all within a week.

It was hectic, Reid said while attending UA’s spring football game two weeks ago. They said (I) had to be there. It was a mad dash to get there and get settled.

Reid, a native of Pickering, Ontario, was taken back by the reception he received upon his return.

He was named the eighth-best prospect in the country after leading St. Mary’s Catholic High School to the Metro Bowl, the provincial championship game his senior year.

Reid learned he still had a few adoring fans that never forgot about the hulking defensive end.

There was a big hype when I was going back, Reid said. A lot of people called. It was kind of amazing. Going back you don’t expect a lot of people to remember you. I didn’t know I was known like that. So it was a big shock going back. It was fun.

After winning the starting defensive end job in camp and recording six tackles in four games, Reid rolled his ankle during practice and missed a couple weeks.

By the time he was able to return to action, he lost his starting position, along with a little confidence and ended the season as the backup on a 3-15 cellar dweller.

You always have questions in your mind, Reid said. Am I going to have to do something to prove? You always have that in the back of your mind, but I just have to prove myself and try and win back my spot.

To make the situation worse, the Ti-Cats overhauled its front office, letting go much of the coaching staff and the general manager. These changes left Reid with a sense of urgency heading into camp, which starts later this month.

I really liked them, Reid said. Its just the nature of the game. You could be somewhere and then have to go somewhere else and respond. It’s hard, but it’s stuff you have to deal with.

Ultimately, I’m going to have to prove myself.

Reid, now at full strength, has his eyes set on catching the eyes of NFL scouts. To do so, he knows he has to disrupt the quarterback more in the pass-heavy CFL.

That’s one of those stats that you need to fill, he said. Regardless if you get the sack or you just get a hit. People are always watching. If I can pull a 10- or 12-sack season, hopefully I can get some attention.

Through all the injuries and insecurities that go along with professional football, Reid has been able to stay level headed and positive. His ego never inflated when the fanfare started and never became depressed when he lost the starting position, and he credits that to Jenna Rantz, a UA grad that Reid met during his freshman year.

The two are engaged, with the wedding planned for late May, a few days before Reid starts his sophomore campaign.

My girl, man, she keeps me grounded, Reid said. Some guys get caught up in the popularity and stuff like that. Honestly, I’m just another guy playing professional football. She helps me remember where I come from.


” #1.1361066:1024349503.jpg:07H05-1086.jpg:Jermaine Reid hopes a 10 or 12 sack season will catch the eyes of NFL scouts. :JON SOKOLOWSKI / HAMILTON TIGER-CATS”