When he chose a career in professional football, Winnipegger Evan Gill didn’t expect his first big job to be putting out a fire. But that’s what he has had to do since a news report on Monday.
TSN reported that Gill had a partially torn quad and will be out six to eight weeks. The tweet with that news has since been deleted. Gill bristled at the “six to eight weeks” part. He has not gotten the results of his MRI, he said.
Before the news got out, Gill had emailed all nine CFL teams to tell them about the injury. Now he wants them to know it’s not as bad as that initial report.
“Teams are aware that I have a quad injury,” he said on the Morning News. “But not to that extent that I know of yet. I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor or anything like that.”
News like this on the day before the CFL draft could be devastating to a young man’s chance of being picked. Who knows how CFL general managers would react to injury news? So, even though it was not the best idea from a recovery standpoint, Gill ran a quick ladder drill and posted this video yesterday:
“Some teams might not take my word. They may not think that I’m telling the truth in the case when I tell them that ‘Look, I’m okay, I’m walking around.’ I wanted to take the chance to show teams that I’m still mobile and can still move around.”
Gill said he wouldn’t be ready for a live practice drill against CFL linemen today. He said he did play through worse pain last season for the Bisons.
Gill played at the U.S.-based Shrine Game this winter, drawing some attention from NFL teams. The quickest he would be eligible for the NFL would be if he returned to school next season, then declared for the 2015 NFL draft. A CFL team that drafts him high would likely want a three-year contract. Gill said he has considered the possibility of returning, but has decided he wants to go pro now.
“I feel I’m ready to continue with the CFL as of right now. I’m still waiting to hear back what the results with this quad injury. If it was something more serious, which I don’t expect, that takes me into summer with rehab, then maybe then I would strongly consider going back to school. But I don’t expect that to be the case.”
Gill is expected to go in the first round of Tuesday’s draft. The CFL’s scouting bureau has him as the sixth-ranked prospect for this year’s draft. That news would have been a shock to him at this time last year.
“It wasn’t until probably this year that I really thought, ‘Hey look, I have potential to possibly become a first-round draft pick.’ Even before those rankings came out, I still had my doubts.”
In his rookie season of 2011, Gill was a very good defensive end for the Bisons. His coaches saw his body type, athleticism and potential, and moved him to tackle for the 2012 season. They knew that a Canadian’s chances of making the CFL are much improved playing at tackle.
“I was a little bitter about it at first. I was a defensive end for pretty much all my career and then they throw me in at tackle and say ‘It’s going to work out.’ At first I found it tough and I didn’t think it was going to work out. But now I’m sitting here in a position that I’m in, so I guess they made the right decision.”
Gill said he will be waiting at home watching the draft on TV. And after his and teammate Anthony Coombs’ names are called early, he’s hoping a few more Bisons teammates will follow.
“We have quite a few guys that could go: Anthony Coombs, (linebacker) Thomas Miles, (receiver) Andrew Smith and even (kicker) Nick Boyd are viable options as well.”
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