Medeiros works and waits for his dream to take shape

Cats Practise006

Not everyone would wake up every day — for years — and train for a job they don’t have.

But Robin Medeiros had his reasons.

“I love the game of football and just want to play it as long as I can,” he said. “Every opportunity I find is just a blessing to keep trying and keep getting better.”

After nearly a decade of bouncing around the country in a bid to break into the CFL, the 27-year-old receiver is getting another shot.

And this time, it’s in his hometown.

The St. Jean de Brébeuf alumnus was signed to the Tiger-Cats practice roster this week, alongside former starter Nic Grigsby. The pair got the call after Andy Fantuz and C.J. Gable went down with arm injuries in Monday’s win over the Argos.

Medeiros’s road back to Hamilton is an interesting one and, no matter how you break it down, long.

Once he finished high school (he actually graduated from St. Mary), the lean, 6-foot, 195-pound wide receiver played a year of junior with the Burlington Braves. After that it was on to Bishop’s in Quebec, but, after 18 months or so, Medeiros (no relation to former Ticat and McMaster offensive lineman Jason Medeiros) decided he just wasn’t cut out for university.

So he headed west, all the way to Vancouver Island, for another season of junior ball. There was a workout with the Lions, a stint with the Redblacks last year, and a couple of workouts in Hamilton. Somewhere in the middle were a few part-time gigs doing deliveries and construction. Oh, and two seasons in which he didn’t play at all.

But Medeiros didn’t give up. He didn’t really even think about it.

“When I was released from Ottawa and didn’t get picked up right away, I was kind of just like, I want to stay in shape. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m ready to play at the highest level that I can,” he said. “I promised myself I would stay in shape until the end of the year in case anything happened. And if it didn’t happen, it may have been my last one for sure.

“But now we’re here, so we’re going to keep rolling with it.”

After practice Thursday, Ticats coach Kent Austin said it’s still early and Medeiros has a lot to learn. But he does have some of the skills the team likes in a receiver.

“He runs pretty well. I think he’s got pretty good hands,” he said. “He seems to be competitive when you just watch him out there …

“He’s got a long way to go, but so far we like what we see.”

And the fact that Medeiros — who still remembers his first ever football game with his grandpa at the old Ivor Wynne — is from Hamilton?

“That helps,” Austin admitted. “He’s just right down the street instead of flying a guy in.”

For Medeiros, though, the opportunity to practise — maybe even play — withhisteam is much more than an easy commute. In his words, it’s everything he’s ever worked for.

“I’ve played football since I was, like, 13 years old and my dream was always to play in the CFL.

“Especially,” he added, “for the Cats.”