Like a lot of Winnipeggers, Taylor Renaud started off his Monday morning just going about his business, on his way to the gym.
By lunchtime, the first step of a longtime dream was in play at Investors Group Field -- he was part of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for Day 2 of 2013 CFL training camp.
"Oh man, it's been a crazy day for sure, a dream come true, just to get an opportunity to come here and play with a bunch of these guys," said Renaud, Acadia University's Atlantic Conference-leading receiver the last two years. "It was surreal, driving up to the stadium. Best stadium I've ever played in. The facilities are amazing."
Renaud came prepared.
"I had received a call before the draft with the Bombers expressing their interest so I knew to stay ready," he said after the day's session was complete. "I came home and was just working out, getting ready and hoping for an opportunity. I was actually just driving to the gym and coach Walters (assistant GM Kyle Walters) gave me a call so I turned right around and came to the office."
'Here's my opportunity. Don't screw it up. Make the most out of it'
A 6-2, 200-pound product of St. Paul's High School, Renaud, 25, was a second team all-Canadian last season after 51 receptions for 749 yards and three touchdowns. His college career included 95 catches for 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns.
An able Canadian is what the Bombers hope they have added.
"That was one of our goals, to have another Canadian receiver in training camp," head coach Tim Burke said Monday. "When (Michael) DiCroce got hurt, he went home and so we brought Taylor in.
"He's a guy that our personnel department had a real interest in. The opportunity opened up for him."
That's exactly the word Renaud used, too, asked what his thought was coming out to the field Monday morning.
"Here's my opportunity. Don't screw it up. Make the most out of it," said the grandson of former longtime Bombers PA announcer Mo Renaud. "I'd love to just be in the organization. The goal is to make the squad."
That may start with getting his foot in the door on special teams, Renaud agreed.
"As a Canadian receiver, you know you've got to earn your spot on specials first, prove to them your worth," he said. "I did it at Acadia. It's not new to me. I'll be ready."
Renaud stopped short of claiming confidence.
"Missing rookie camp, I definitely have my work cut out for me," he said. "I've just got to get into the playbook, rep it. I've just got to get practice.
"I'm ready to put in the work."
He has done much of that to this point, suffering a serious leg injury in 2010.
"First game of the season, on special teams, I was blocking a guy and it was a short punt and I went to pick up the punt and kind of got tackled awkwardly by two guys," he explained. "It broke my fibia in two places and tore my ACL and MCL."
Six months later, after treatment and investing the rehab time, he was cleared to play again.
"I got treated with the best services out here, Dr. (Peter) MacDonald did my surgery and I got hooked up with his team of rehab specialists with Dean Kriellars," Renaud said. "It was definitely a scary experience, coming out of the hospital and the first rehab session kind of relearning how to walk. It was a long ways to come but after six months, being able to play again, it was truly amazing."
And better than before, as Renaud's last two CIS seasons might suggest.
"I don't know if it was mental, but my second year... coming into the season, the second after the surgery, my speed and change of direction actually felt better," he said. "All my jumping and 40 times, combine numbers, had gone up."
And so, it has led him to a new beginning.
"I really believed it was going to happen," Renaud said. "I put a lot of emotion, a lot of hard work into this. So it's amazing being here."