Edmonton Elks’ defensive back Ed Gainey believes he still has ‘a lot of years of football left’

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Despite turning 32 in less than a month and getting ready to start his tenth CFL season, Edmonton Elks’ defensive back Ed Gainey still believes he can be a game-changer.

“I don’t know if everyone thinks I’m getting old or whatever the case may be, but I’m still productive and I still have a lot of years of football left in me,” Gainey promised this week.

The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native first arrived in the CFL in 2012 with the Montreal Alouettes. He played two seasons with the Als and Ticats, respectively, before moving on to the Saskatchewan Roughriders where he spent the past five years.

The five-foot-eleven, 193-pound ballhawk flourished in Saskatchewan, becoming the anchor in a talented secondary and snatching 21 interceptions during his time on the prairies, including a 10-interception season in 2017.

Despite all his success, the Riders didn’t offer Gainey a contract this winter which led to his signing with the Elks in free agency.

“I guess some people assume that me being a player, catching 10 picks and becoming the face of an organization, that I wasn’t handling it well,” Gainey mused.

Gainey has been reunited with former Riders’ head coach Chris Jones, who is now the head man for the Elks. The Appalachian State product was a two-time West Division and two-time league all-star in 2017 and 2018 under Jones and was also Saskatchewan’s nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017.

Many believed when Gainey hit free agency that Edmonton was the obvious landing spot, but Gainey didn’t see it as a guarantee.

“Honestly, I was just seeing who really wanted me to be a part of their organization and nobody really pulled the trigger, surprisingly, besides Jones,” he admitted.

With 10 years in the game, Gainey still plays like he has a chip on his shoulder. The last time people doubted him, he became a two-time all-star. If history repeats itself, opposing offences better watch out.

“I don’t mind being the underdog,” he smiled.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.