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Garrett's fire still burning

Running back not ready to trade cleats for office job just yet

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/6/2013 (1523 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There will be a day when Chris Garrett figures he'll be able put his degree in health administration -- with a minor in business management -- to good use.

"One day I'd like to run a hospital or a clinic," said the Winnipeg Blue Bomber running back. "Not now, but one day."

Chris Garrett (19), at practice Tuesday, is hoping for another shot after spending 2012 in sick bay with a torn Achilles tendon.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Chris Garrett (19), at practice Tuesday, is hoping for another shot after spending 2012 in sick bay with a torn Achilles tendon.

Still, here's the thing for Garrett as he heads to Guelph for the club's final preseason tune-up against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats: where he once ruled the Bomber backfield, he is now staring up at two names ahead of him on the depth chart in Chad Simpson and Will Ford.

He is 26 years old and missed all of last season recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.

And in the world of pro football where running backs get chewed up and spit out daily, those are some mighty big odds to overcome.

"This is a game that's not too kind on the body," Garrett admitted after practice Tuesday. "But you have to play as much as you can while you can. That's how I look at it. I'm still rather young and so I'm going to keep playing until I call it quits.

"I'm not going to have somebody tell me I can't do it any more. When I decide to hang em up, that's when I'm done. So this next game... I look like it as if it's a regular game for me. I'm pumped for it.

"I'm not competing against anybody, I'm competing against myself. That's the only thing I can worry about and can control."


Bombers head coach Tim Burke has indicated there may be room for three import running backs this year, with two on the roster and a third stashed on either the reserve list or on the practice roster. He also said this Tuesday about Garrett, who will likely get a lot of work this week:

"I don't think he's running as well as he was two years ago. But, again, I think that's nothing physical, he's just got to get back into the groove."

Asked if Garrett was in tough to be the team's starter in Week 1, Burke added: "He's got a chance."

That's likely Burke simply trying to keep Garrett mentally and physically engaged heading into the final preseason tilt because the reviews for Simpson and Ford through training camp have been glowing.

And so that's where Garrett is right now, whether he or the club will publicly admit it: a man at a bit of a career crossroads trying to find the path that will take him into the Bomber backfield again.

Remember, less than two years ago Garrett was THE rising star in the Bombers' dash to the Grey Cup. He replaced Fred Reid in September of 2011 and promptly rushed for 576 yards in six games and then 190 more in the East Final. But then came that fateful day last June when Garrett ripped up his Achilles during training camp.

He spent months in a walking boot and even more time rehabbing the injury while the 2012 Bombers imploded into a gruesome mess. And if you don't think that eats at a guy...

"Just to see the team not doing well and losing games... that took a toll on me," said Garrett. "I was here for the whole season trying to rehab and get better, but to just to see that happening and know I could possibly help was very frustrating. In the offseason I made a decision that I was going to be back on the field this year.

"I'm more than happy to be back, but last year left a bitter taste in my mouth, just as I'm sure it did for everybody on this team. What kept me going this winter was the guys around me, the training staff encouraging me that helped me worked harder. I'm a competitive person and I don't like to take no for an answer.

"But it was also the simple desire to play again. My Plan A is football. Plan B... I was thinking about it, but deep down inside I knew I could get back and I can still be productive." Twitter: @WFPEdTait


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