Hamilton Tiger-Cat defensive end Adrian Tracy played all 16 games for the New York Giants in 2012. And while he clearly enjoyed his NFL experience, it also had some unintended consequences. In this interview with the Hamilton Spectator’s Drew Edwards, Tracy discusses his time with the Giants, the loss of a former teammate and his love for Netflix.
Drew Edwards: You are in a couple of versions of the Madden NFL game. Ever played it as yourself?
Adrian Tracy: I have and I can tell you it’s a wonderful feeling. I’m not really happy with some of my ratings, but I knew if I worked with my player we’d get better and I dominated with the Giants. I was talking with our CFLPA rep and told him he needs to lobby to get us a CFL game. This league is perfect for it: unless you take Madden super serious, nobody ever runs the ball.
DE: Tell me about your family.
AT: I have a brother and a sister and we’re all really close. My mom was adopted, so she said her family would be tight-knit and that’s exactly what we are. We talk or text every day and they are definitely my support system. They’ve been with me for the best of times and the worst of times.
DE: What was the worst of times?
AT: When I got released from the Giants in 2013. When I got to the NFL, I thought ‘this is it.’ Then it didn’t go exactly as I thought it would. I didn’t separate myself as a person from the football player — I thought those were the same thing. When I got released and the phone wasn’t ringing, I was like ‘Dad, what am I going to do, who am I?’ He was like ‘you have a degree, you have more to offer than just playing a sport.’ But I was hard-headed and wanted to make it work and it was more than a year of ups and downs waiting for another opportunity. I got one with Arizona, but then got released again and I thought maybe that was it. That’s when the Ticats called.
DE: That uncertainty can be really tough.
AT: I just had a former teammate with the Giants, Tyler Sash, who passed away. We were in a similar position, got released at the same time. We kept in touch for awhile, but then sort of drifted apart. I don’t know exactly the details of his situation, but I think he felt like he didn’t have any options. When I’m done playing, I’d like to be involved in helping players who are in that spot.
DE: It sounds like it was hard for you, too.
AT: I thought that I’d be strong enough to understand that I am a man before I’m a football player. But when you’re at the highest point of your career and playing in the NFL and that’s just gone, for no real reason, it’s difficult.
DE: How’s the transition to the CFL been?
AT: It’s been good. It’s allowed me to mature and grow. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more tutelage and coaching here than I have in any other organization. But I had to learn patience. I knew when I came here I wasn’t going to be a starter automatically, but I thought hard work would pay off sooner than it did. I had to put my nose to the grindstone and continue to show the coaching staff about my character and skill set. Now, I’m getting my chance.
DE: During your first CFL game, you knocked Bomber quarterback Drew Willy into next week. It may have given you the beginnings of a reputation.
AT: I was just excited to be out there and I wanted to make a play. It was unfortunate. I didn’t have any malicious intent. But I’m not going to change my style of play. If that comes at the cost of somebody unfortunately getting hurt, that’s just what it is.
DE: I heard you’re a big Netflix guy.
AT: I’m not sure how I got into it, but I love “Hell on Wheels.” Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a cowboy and this is the perfect show. Cullen Bohannon walks the straight and narrow, but on a crooked path. He does the right thing, but doesn’t always go about doing it in the right way.
Notes: The CFL has fined Argonaut linebacker James Yurichuk for “unnecessary roughness” during Toronto’s loss to Hamilton last Friday. Replays showed Yurichuk kneeing Ticat return man Brandon Banks in the ribs. … Ticat linebacker Simoni Lawrence practised Thursday for the first time this week, and looks set to play Saturday against Edmonton. … Guard Ryan Bomben will likely miss the game with a nagging ankle injury … The Ontario Lung Association’s Stair-to-Care event will take place at Tim Hortons Field before Saturday’s game. The event, which aims to raise awareness of lung health and funds for research, starts at 11 a.m. For more information and to register, visit stairtocare.ca.