CFLers’ work is never done

Mike Bradwell wears two hats, literally.
For six months, his head is covered by a football helmet as he toils as a receiver for the Toronto Argonauts. The rest of the year, he wears a hard hat while doing his other job as a civil engineer for PCL Construction.

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Like most Canadian Football League players, there’s nothing off about the off-season. With teams paying an average salary of about $60,000 a year, most players want or have to augment that with another job.
While $60,000 for six months’ work is pretty good pay for the average kid just out of university, there’s more to it than just padding the bank account. It’s a matter of thinking ahead.
“We’re not getting paid millions of dollars, so it’s important to have a second career to go to,” says Bradwell, who graduated from McMaster University last year with a degree in civil engineering.
There’s more to it than that.
“We do get a long off-season,” the Toronto native says. “Financially, it’s possible to get by without working in the off-season, but you don’t want to sit on the couch all winter.
“You have to keep busy and keep sane heading into training camp.”
All across North America, CFL players become regular working stiffs either to keep themselves busy or to start preparing for life after football. After all, careers can end in a flash with a new head coach deciding on a change in direction or a catastrophic injury making that decision for him.
“There are no guarantees,” says Bradwell. “Nobody plays football forever.”
• Argo defensive back Matt Black spent the winter selling clothes at lululemon and then training to be a mutual fund salesman.
• Linebacker Kevin Eiben runs a sports training facility while running back Jeff Johnson sells real estate.
• Defensive lineman Adriano Belli works in the family meat business year-round when not knocking heads with guys on the other side of the line.
• Punter Eddie Johnson splits his time working as a bartender in California and as a personal coach to a young kicking prospect.
• Edmonton quarterback Jason Maas works in sales on the Alberta oil fields.
• Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski puts his imposing size to use as a youth worker at a correctional facility. So does Ticat defensive back Sandy Beveridge, who also works during the season as a volunteer firefighter.


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