This week I interviewed Kory Sheets. Kory is a former NFL and CFL running back and was the 2013 Grey Cup MVP on the championship Saskatchewan Roughriders. He set the records for most rushing yards ever in a Grey Cup game when he ran for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kory was kind enough to answer some questions about his career and time playing in Canada.
Josh Wahler: You said playing in Saskatchewan was the best two years of your life. What made it so special and how different was it from your expectations?
Kory Sheets: Yes it was an amazing two years but, I didn’t really have any expectations. I knew nothing about Canada and the only time I’d heard about Saskatchewan was in that Grown Ups movie.
JW: You had one the best championship performances in the history of pro football. What goes into a performance like that and what does the accomplishment mean to you?
KS: A lot of things have to happen and it’s less about what I did and more about what the team did collectively. See the thing that made our team great wasn’t the great players we had but the way we all worked together and were able to rely on each other to do our jobs correctly and when the bad things happened not to turn and point fingers. We found the solutions without blame. The defense made plays a lot of take away and two and outs if we don’t have the ball more than I’m not able to do what I did. If the line doesn’t do what it did best then I don’t have a game. Receivers have to make plays to keep the DC honest and not only focused on the run for me to have a day and season like I did.
JW: Growing up playing American football in high school, college and the NFL, what was the biggest adjustment when you came over to the CFL?
KS: For me there wasn’t much change, it was great that I didn’t have to worry about jumping offsides if I forgot the count. That was fun.
JW: Are there any rules or differences about the game up in Canada that you preferred to American rules?
KS: Yes, the motion rule is my favorite and helped a lot when we were in loud stadiums because jumping offsides can kill a drive just as fast as a turnover.
JW: Is there anyone you played with over the years who stands out as having the biggest impact on you as a player?
KS: Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, they helped me learn to control my speed to bust out of the backfield. Teaching me that I didn’t have to be so quick to try and make a move before the line had a chance to make and set up blocks. They called it “slow to fast through”.
JW: What advice would you give to young athletes looking to pursue a career in pro football?
KS: Learn what else you love to do during the off season no matter the sport. Too many athletes get caught up in only focusing on their sport and not themselves. So after that two to four hour period you workout in your sport take two to three hours out the day to find another passion.