Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rookie kicker dreams of chance

But not about to give up day job

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SURREY, B.C. -- Steve Shott is not giving up his day job as he pursues his CFL dream one more time with the B.C. Lions.

And that's a good thing, because the Lions (5-2) will again be relying on veteran Paul McCallum when they visit the struggling Montreal Alouettes (2-5).

Shott, a rookie kicker who had his first workout with the Lions on Monday after being added to the practice roster, will continue to work for Shaw Communications, helping customers over the phone, while he serves as McCallum's latest understudy.

"I keep working part-time for now, just so I can keep my job in the off-season," said Shott after a practice at the Lions practice facility.

The Lions released Shott, who came up through the junior ranks with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Sun, in the pre-season. But they decided to give the 23-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native another shot -- pardon the pun -- after parting ways with Hugh O'Neill last week following his two-plus seasons as B.C.'s kicker-in-waiting.

The Lions punted O'Neill, a 23-year-old Edmonton native who signed with his hometown club Monday, after they could not come to terms on a contract extension. The new Lions kicker was aware that O'Neill planned to become a free agent in February and had an inkling he could be back with the Lions this season.

Shott kicked after Lions practices at their facility with tutoring from former Montreal Alouettes legend Don Sweet, who assists kickers privately and also serves as a consultant for the Lions.

"I was always kind of talking with them a little bit," said Shott, who declined an offer to join the UBC Thunderbirds just before their training camp started Friday.

"So I knew it wasn't necessarily that I wasn't good enough at the time. I think they didn't really have room for three kickers. I think they see potential in me. (It's) just basically up to me to work hard to meet those expectations that they have."

The ultimate expectation is to be able to replace 43-year-old McCallum, the CFL's oldest player. But based on a succession of kickers that have served as his protege in recent years, from Sean Whyte, who now kicks for the Alouettes, to O'Neill, there is no guarantee that he will eventually be the chosen one, considering the way that McCallum keeps on kicking.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 20, 2013 D3

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