WINNIPEG fullback Jordan Matechuk will finally complete his extraordinary journey back to pro football tonight -- a journey that detoured through an American jail cell last year.
"I was as low as you could (get)," Matechuk reflected Thursday following a light Bombers practice at Canad Inns Stadium in preparation for tonight's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
"I was in prison, I was in jail. There's no lower than that."
Bombers head coach Tim Burke confirmed at his pre-game news conference Thursday afternoon that Matechuk, who's been practising with the team all season, will finally see his first game action tonight since his May 2011 arrest for steroids possession.
And Burke couldn't be happier for Matechuk, whose football career came to a grinding halt last year when he got arrested at the Canada-U.S. border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in possession of steroids and marijuana.
Matechuk, a 26-year-old native of Yorkton, Sask., was en route to training camp with Hamilton at the time he was arrested and the Ticats released him shortly afterward.
Matechuk pleaded guilty to the charges and received a 90-day sentence.
"Obviously, he made a mistake," said Burke. "We all deserve a second chance and I think he's done everything he could possibly do to be a positive influence in the community. And also to be a positive with the team. He's extremely excited about playing tomorrow and we look for some good things from him on special teams."
Is he ever excited. "It's been two years since I've actually played a football game. It really means a lot to me that the opportunity arose and I'm going to take strides ahead," said Matechuk.
"It's been a wild road, but it's a great opportunity."