Jock Climie - Wide Receiver - 1990-2001 - Queens University
A Different Kind of Jock - by Matthew Ross - http://www.caffimage.com/interviews/interview-mr_040805.php
Football was a way of life at an early age for the Climie family. "My Dad played Queens football," says the television analyst. "I was obsessed with it early on." Jock continued playing football as he grew up, getting drafted in 1989. "I had to put my law aspirations on hold for the time being." During his rookie year in 1990, Climie had his ups and downs. "I dressed for the opener and that was a pleasant surprise. But, from the second week on, I was on the practice squad," he explains.
Luckily, Ottawa picked me up." Climie would go on to play with the eastern Roughriders until 1994, all the while pursuing his law degree in the offseason. "I was reduced to taking law during the winter semesters only."
Now an established veteran, Jock returned to Toronto in 1995 and had a good season. However, he had not yet won a Grey Cup; the objective of all CFL players.
Seeking to remain relatively close to his hometown of Ottawa, Climie signed with the re-born Montreal Alouettes in 1996. Montreal had been without a team since 1987. However, despite the double-digit seasons of wins early on, Als fans were scarce. But, when the team made the move to Molson Stadium from Olympic Stadium, it seemed to re-energize the fan base and ultimately the team. "I was fortunate to be a part of their re-birth," he reflects. "They (the Als) literally rose from the ashes. I consider current owner Robert Wetenhall a personal friend and believe that his taking over the team had a lot to do with it. Quietly, Montreal's re-birth was a combination of luck, hard work and great promotion. They have become the model franchise of the league."
While Climie managed to make it to the Grey Cup final with Montreal, he never won the top prize during his career. The Alouettes took home the title in 2002- a year after he retired. "It was tough watching them win the title after I had retired," he reveals. "But I didn't have the option to go back. New head coach Don Matthews wanted to bring in faster receivers. Besides, I now had a family and a (law) practice in Ottawa and wanted to be closer to them. After some negotiations with the newly formed Ottawa Renegades, I decided playing would be a pay cut (from law) and I retired." The Ottawa native says that if the Renegades were contending for the Cup, he would have taken less money and signed on.
Now a practicing lawyer and a retired player, Climie decided to put his analytical football mind to work, becoming an analyst with TSN in 2002. He believes that the league has turned a corner and is on the right track. "I believe the league is on the right track because it seems they finally have solid ownership in all the of the cities." The nine-team league may eventually expand to ten, with Halifax and Quebec City being the two front-runners. "I believe Halifax would be the next logical market to expand to for the CFL. But, I also think that it's at least five years away, at least that has what the league has indicated."
Jock Climie had the playing career he wanted, has the law career he wants and is probably more recognized now for being on national television every Friday night, than he was when he was still playing. The three-time divisional CFL all-star retired from the league with 56 touchdowns, 627 receptions and 9,619 yards receiving. He ranks among the top receivers to ever play the game and is remembered for his work ethic, leadership and great head for the game. He got out when he was still healthy, put his family first and is a model for any athlete looking to make the transition from active player to retired player. Whatever endeavour this man takes on in the future, you can be sure it will be successful.
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