TORONTO -- On the outside, Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Kerry Joseph appears calm, cool and collected ahead of Sunday’s Eastern Semi-Final matchup with the Toronto Argonauts.
On the inside, however, it’s a much different story.
“I always carry a chip on my shoulder,” said Joseph on Saturday following Edmonton’s final walkthrough.
“The chip might be small; it might be big depending on the different obstacles or circumstances I’ve gone through throughout my career, but at the end of the day my focus is on winning this football game,” he added.
In this case, Joseph admits that the said chip might be a big one, as his relationship with the Argonauts has a complicated past.
“Things stay on your mind, you don’t forget things,” confessed Joseph regarding the opportunity to beat his former club.
“You don’t take things personally, but you use things for motivational tools. So there are a lot of things I have stored away that I use for motivation and drive,” he added.
This week, Joseph shouldn’t have any problems finding that extra gear.
After signing with Argonauts during the 2007 off-season, and starting under centre for the club in 2008, the 2009 campaign took a rocky turn for the worst, ultimately spelling the end for Joseph's tenure in Double Blue.
But that was then and this is now.
On Thursday, Eskimos Head Coach Kavis Reed ended days of speculation, as he officially anointed Joseph as the team’s starter for Sunday’s clash with the Boatmen, opting to go with the experienced 39-year-old, rather than the impressive 25-year-old Matt Nichols.
The experience factor seemed to be one that refused to go away during Reed’s decision-making period, and it’s certainly a trait that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Joseph’s teammates.
“There are a lot of things that I go to Kerry with that aren’t even football related,” said Esks linebacker JC Sherritt.
“He’s been through it all, his character is what you want in a leader, and if I have any questions about the game or life in general that’s the guy you go to,” he added.
“That’s the guy you want leading you out there.”
Joseph enters his fifth career playoff game with a 4-1 record, with his last victory arriving during the 95th Grey Cup when he led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 23-19 win over the Blue Bombers.
Joseph believes the group of individuals that make up the Esks roster has what it takes to contend for this year’s big game – the 100th Grey Cup.
“We have a great group of guys, a great football team,” said Joseph.
“We deserve to win and that’s my main focus, to give it my best for tomorrow so we can come out on top.”