A public acceptance from roster hopeful Jordan Matechuk wrapped up a hectic first day of Blue Bombers mini camp Wednesday.
The Winnipeg resident is on a tryout with the CFL club, looking to get back to a football career as a long snapper/fullback after running into legal troubles in 2011. Matechuk was found to be in possession of 543 anabolic steroid pills, 262 millilitres of anabolic steroids in liquid form, 1.25 grams of marijuana, 19 syringes and 51 replacement needles at the Canada-U.S. border prior to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats training camp last season.
The Ticats released him and he pleaded guilty to the felony and misdemeanor charges. Matechuk was sentenced to 90 days of prison time last September, serving 60 of those behind bars.
The Bombers offered the player another opportunity to play football, a chance the 26-year-old was grateful for Wednesday.
"I’d like to thank the Blue Bombers in giving me a second chance in my football career," Matechuk said, admitting to reporters he’s been suffering from depression for the last two and a half years.
"It’s really humbling. I’ve made mistakes in my life and fortunately I was able to learn from those mistakes. I really love football… this is my life."
"The things that happened to me, I did them to myself," he continued.
"I live with depression, I suffer from the mental illness of depression, and I used steroids and marijuana as part of a coping mechanism to make me feel better.
"I went off my medication when I shouldn’t of. I’m with my doctor now working hard and we’re on the same page, and we’re all working together with the Bomber family."
Matechuk, who said going public with his depression was a big step in his recovery, approached the Bombers for the opportunity in the off-season and the club took him up on the offer, signing the former Winnipeg Rifle to a deal in February. The club believes Matechuk is genuine in his regret over what happened a year ago.
"He’s a good kid who made a mistake," Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said. "I’m sure he’s going to fix it."
On a day when veteran centre Obby Khan retired -- an announcement that took players by surprise -- the Bombers added two more players to the off-season roster signing import receiver Chris Matthews and non-import offensive lineman Will Henry. Both players were on the field Wednesday.
Players on the camp roster not in attendance for Day 1 at Canad Inns Stadium were quarterback Joey Elliott (quad injury) and running back Chad Simpson (travel issue). Both are expected to participate Thursday.