Edmonton Elks Training Camp Day 4: Ham looking to continue family legacy with the green and gold

Saskatchewan Roughriders' Naaman Roosevelt (82) makes a catch as Toronto Argonauts' Caleb Ham (16) goes to block during first half CFL football action in Regina on Monday, July 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis

Quarterback Tracy Ham played six seasons in Edmonton as a member of the green and gold from 1987 to 1992. He won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award in 1989 and is fourth all-time in franchise history in passing yards (19,240), third in touchdown passes (142) and has the top-two rushing totals in team history from a quarterback, breaking the 1,000 yard mark twice.

Tracy Ham was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Ham legacy has continued in training camp for the Elks with Tracy’s son Caleb in the fold looking to crack the 2021 roster as a defensive back. Caleb said he has been talking to his dad about his time in Edmonton.

“I’ve talked to him about it here and there,” Caleb said. “In the off-season, we watched film — and mostly his film. You know, he was showing off his stuff when he was in Edmonton and elsewhere.

Story continues below advertisement

“He talked to me a little bit about it. Obviously he had a pretty good tenure here starting off behind Damon Allen and both Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Matt Dunigan). He told me about his time here and it was very interesting how he worked his way up. It gave me some motivation for when I got up here as well.”

Read more: Edmonton Elks Training Camp Day 3: Secondary loaded with experience

Caleb has just three games under belt in the CFL going back to his time with the Toronto Argonauts in 2019 where he recorded seven defensive tackles.

He played college ball at Fordham University, recording 186 total tackles, seven interceptions and one forced fumble in 44 games. Caleb said he did entertain the idea of becoming a quarterback like his Hall of Fame dad at one time.

“About when I was eight years-old, I said, ‘Dad, I want to play quarterback.’ So we started to throw the ball in the yard,” he said. “One day I was doing the same thing and he brought a rush on me and I was like, ‘Oh no.’ I threw the ball away and he started laughing and I said, ‘This isn’t for me.’

“I kind of grew into my own with the weight and size. It’s just one of those things that quarterback wasn’t cut out for me and I had to find my own way.”

Story continues below advertisement

Player Profile

11 Shai Ross WR 6’0 180 Manitoba

Shai Ross of Winnipeg, Manitoba, takes part in on field tests during the CFL combine in Toronto, Sunday March 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Shai Ross was late arriving to the game of football. The 27-year-old did not begin playing until his Grade 12 year in high school in Winnipeg. He has made the most of it since then. He played a few years of club football and then junior football in B.C. before he went to the University of Manitoba for two years. That’s when playing pro became an option.

Ross was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, 40th overall by the Elks. He made the 2019 roster out of camp but injuries limited his season to just five games working on special teams but it was valuable experience as he sets his sights higher in 2021.

“That was a really long offseason and I have definitely taken the time to improve myself, improve my craft and improve my football IQ,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“I think I am right there to compete and make a run for that starting spot.”

Ross joins Tevaun Smith, Mike Jones, Hunter Karl, Danny Vandervoort and others fighting for a roster spot as a Canadian receiver.

In the weeks leading up to training camp, Ross went viral with a video of his Oreo cookie dunk while doing a flip. The former gymnast said the focus for him is now on football.

“It’s time to switch gears and get serious about football and do everything I can to contribute to this football team.”


Elks receiver Shai Ross talks about the story of the Oreo dunk

Roster moves

The Elks didn’t make a roster move on Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Single-game Edmonton Elks tickets now available, team unveils season promotions

The Elks will have a day away from the field on Wednesday. Head coach Jamie Elizondo said some rest will benefit his players.

“They need to get off their feet. They need to get rested and hydrated,” Elizondo said. “The most important thing — and the over-arching principle — is we need to have a full tank of gas come Aug. 7. That’s always how we are going to make those decisions.

“We had a couple of hot days and today was a little bit warmer. I think tomorrow is a good chance to pause, catch your breath as a player, get off your feet and physically get rested.”

The Elks will be back on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. All training camp sessions are closed to the public

Watch below: Some recent Global News video about the Edmonton Elks.


Sponsored content