IT took years of training, discipline and a complete lifestyle change for Winnipeg's Eddie Steele, a defensive tackle with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to earn his way to the Canadian Football League.
Now Steele, 24, is sharing what he knows by remembering where he came from.
Steele, a former University of Manitoba Bison, is in his third CFL season with the Ticats, who drafted him in 2010.
He'll be on the field tonight when the Bombers host the Tiger-Cats and expects to have about 30 members of his family and friends out to watch at Canad Inns Stadium.
The 6-foot-2 Steele weighed 340 pounds when he graduated from the Kelvin Clippers high school program in Winnipeg and joined the Bisons program. During his three seasons there, he quickly realized he was too slow to play at that weight in the CFL. He embarked on life-changing exercise and nutrition programs.
"I worked very hard and I do feel like that hard work has paid off. I'm living my dream of playing professional football," said Steele, who has held steady at 273 for the past three years.
He and four Bisons teammates -- Brad Black, Blair Atkinson, Will Sheils and Bobby Reist -- started a company in Winnipeg called Recruit Ready which now handles all the strength and conditioning programs for the their alma mater Bisons.