Monday, August 28, 2006 - 09:00AM
Punishing DB gets recalled after surprising release
By Vicki Hall,
EDMONTON -- The Donald has been hired.
More than two months after cutting Donald Brady, the Edmonton Eskimos called him Sunday to ask the punishing defensive back Wednesday from his parent's home in Long Island, N.Y.
Providing he passes a medical exam, Brady hopes to be on the practice field Thursday in preparation for the Labour Day Classic in Calgary.
"I'm good to go," he said Sunday night. "I'm happy about it. I've been smiling since I got the call.
"I'm excited, and I'm ready to play some ball."
Brady, 32, said he harbours no resentment towards head coach Danny Maciocia for releasing him just after camp.
"None whatsoever," he said. "I've been in this game too long to get upset by something like that. I can't be mad. I understand this is a business, so I never take anything personally."
The Eskimos kept Brady on the payroll for the past 11 weeks, because he broke a rib and tore cartilage in the second pre-season game against Saskatchewan. Two other CFL teams expressed interest in signing the physical cover man, but he decided to come back to the city where he started his CFL career in 2002.
Brady is the second Eskimo to return to the fold this season after his release. The Esks cut Joe Montford last May only to bring him back this summer. That experiment lasted only four games before they sent him packing again.
Brady swears that won't happen to him.
"I really like wearing an Edmonton Eskimos helmet," he said. "I've made a home there. The city knows what to expect of me. The guys know me in the locker-room. I know them. Edmonton is home for me."
After his release, Brady was lost. A West Division all-star in 2005, he was stunned to find himself on the unemployment line the following season.
Looking back, he feels his release was a blessing. The time off allowed him to return to Long Island and spend time with his father in the final stages of a battle with prostate cancer.
The cancer has spread to his bones, and the doctors can't say how long he'll live. They've given up on chemotherapy in the hope Brady's dad can enjoy whatever time he has left.
"I just have to have faith he'll still be around when I get back," Brady said. "It's something you don't really think about. This time has given me some perspective. I realize life goes on. He doesn't want me to stop my life over this. He didn't raise me like that.
"I don't want to be selfish, but I've done some soul-searching. I'm sure I'm doing the right thing."
Brady hopes to be in the lineup next Monday to shadow his nemesis, Jeremaine Copeland. For years, the Calgary slotback complained bitterly about Brady's tendency to hold; so did B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon.
After Brady's release, both Simon and Copeland questioned the sanity of the Eskimos' decision.
" I kind of missed him," Copeland said on Friday. "Me and Donny always had major battles. We were in the business of talking trash to each other. It was always fun playing against him. Of course, he always held me, and I loved talking about him.
"But we loved playing each other. He's probably the most physical halfback in this league. Whenever you get a guy his size who plays as physical as Donny does, it can be hard to get past him."
Brady, 32, wanted nothing more than to shut down Copeland in the season-opener against Calgary.
Maybe now he'll get his chance.
"You know, sometimes you have to wait in life for your opportunities," he said. "I was so anxious before, but sometimes things work out for the best without you even knowing it at the time."
Hopefully he's in the lineup for this week. They better not cut him in 4 weeks.