July 5, 2018

Gable Feeling Rejuvenated With Green and Gold

It wasn’t something C.J. Gable consciously decided to do. He just always considered it a big part of the position.

The position is officially called ‘running back.’ But in the CFL, especially in Edmonton where there’s a league ‘Most Outstanding Player’ and All-Star quarterback to protect, it’s ‘blocking back.’

“I played just about every other position before I became a running back in high school, but from the day I became a running back I understood that blocking was a big part of playing the position,” said the native of Sylmar, California, a.k.a. The Valley.

“I’m glad I had that attitude. It’s the No. 1 reason I’m still playing football.”

Gable can carry the pigskin.

In four games played, all starts, following his trade to the Eskimos with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year, Gable became the fourth Eskimos running back of the record-setting season involving injuries to eclipse the 100-yard mark in back-to-back games with the Eskimos.

In his four games, he had 72 carries, only two fewer than he had with Hamilton in nine games. He rushed for 367 yards and caught nine passes for 99 yards. In his two playoff games, Gable added 28 more carries for 161 addition yards rushing and caught six more passes for 42 yards.

Gable scored three touchdowns in the four regular season games and added three more in the two playoff games.

When he opened the season without anything resembling those kinds of numbers, coach Jason Mass raved about the job he’d done keeping Reilly upright.

“You have to have patience. It’s not always going to be there,” he said.

But Gable knows having him carry the football is part of the big picture plan which he never felt was really that big of a part of the plan in Hamilton with the Tiger-Cats, who traded him to Edmonton for two players off the negotiation list.

It’s been an interesting career path that brought the 30-year-old to the banks of the North Saskatchewan.

Coming out of high school football he had all sorts of interests including offers to visit campuses around the nation. He made one trip to Ole Miss but decided to check out Cal and USC and decided not to take another trip just for the sake of travelling somewhere.

“I wanted to play near home where my parents and family members and friends could come and see me play.

Gable chose the University of Southern California where he was the first true freshman in USC history to start a season at tailback.

From 2006 to 2010 he appeared in 41 games for the Trojans carrying 308 times for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also provided over 1,000 yards in returns.

The best part was being part of three consecutive Rose Bowl championship teams, although he was out for the second half of the 2007 season with an injury.

USC defeated Michigan 32-18 in 2007, Illinois 49-17 in 2008 and Penn State 28-24 in 2009 before 93,293 in the New Year’s Day classic on each occasion.

Despite being a starting running back on a three-in-a-row title team, Gable was undrafted. He was, however, signed by the New Orleans Saints.

It’s a bit of an adjustment to go from that sort of college scene to NFL looks with New Orleans and Denver in 2011 to play for the Nebraska Danger in indoor football in 2012.

“It was in a small town,” Gable remembered of Grand Island. Nebraska, (population 48,520).

“I only played one game, but it was fun. I scored a touchdown. I think I got paid $200.

“The reason it was only one game was somebody connected with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats saw me and next thing I knew I was on my way to the CFL.”

He headed to Hamilton as C.J. and produced 782 yards rushing to win the East nomination as the most outstanding rookie in 2013 when he played with the Tiger-Cats in the Grey Cup game.

Gable went into the season with 55 games played, 479 carries and 2,739 yards rushing.

Gable said he plans to become a policeman or a fireman when his pro football career comes to an end but he also plans to pursue his passion as a bit of an artist, too.

Oh, and what does C.J. stand for?

Carl Junior.

C.J. was named after his dad but hated being called Carl Junior (there being a hamburger chain called Carl’s Jr.) When young Carl came to Canada, he came as C.J.

You also may have noticed that with the departure of quarterback James Franklin to Toronto, Gable grabbed his No. 2 to wear this season.

It’s the number Gable wore to a pair of 2,000 yard rushing seasons in high school.

“I was really happy to be able to get it,” he said.

Gable wore No. 39 last year after wearing No. 32 in Hamilton.