Rams quarterback suits up with the Edmonton Eskimos
To get the chance to play in a CFL game is something that most Canadian university football players may only dream of. For Rams quarterback Marc Mueller, that dream became a reality.
As draft day for the Canadian Football League came and went, many people were surprised when Mueller’s name was not among those that were called. But, just short of Mueller becoming a free agent, the Edmonton Eskimos announced his official signing to the club on May 9.
Although the prospect of going into a player’s first pro camp may be daunting for some, Mueller was able to stay level-headed in order to focus on the task at hand.
“When it comes down to it, once you get out there on the field it’s just football,” he said. “I tried to prepare as well as I could, so I would know what to expect and know all of the reads so, when I got out there, I could just play and not have to think.”
Mueller will be the first to admit that numerous coaches and players were able to help him out tremendously during camp.
“Kavis Reed, the [Eskimos] head coach, was fantastic. I can see why they are having such great success this year. He’s a great motivator and his practices were outstanding. There is not one thing that can happen in a game that we hadn’t done in a practice, whether it was redzone, hurry up, or other situations,” offered the young quarterback. “Coach [Marcus] Crandell was also great. His offence and the way he put it in was outstanding.”
Mueller also looked at camp as an opportunity to chat with current Eskimos starting quarterback Ricky Ray. Apart from a brief stint in the NFL, Ray has been with the Eskimos since 2002, where he made the team out of training camp.
“The guy I learned the most from was Ray. He’s had so much success in his career, winning the Grey Cup and being named the Grey Cup MVP. To be able to learn from him and workout with him and things like that couldn’t have been better.”
After all of the preparation from camp, the time finally came for Mueller to step onto the field as a member of the Eskimos. Although the pressure of being under the lights may have caused some players to cave, for Mueller, the task came naturally.
During Edmonton’s pre-season game on June 17, Mueller was a perfect 3-for-3 in passing and was able to rack up 45 passing yards against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Although the Eskimos ended up falling to the Riders by a narrow margin of 23-22, the experience for Mueller was unforgettable.
“It was fun,” said Mueller, the grandson of former Riders legendary quarterback Ron Lancaster. “The way the timing was with it being at home here in Regina and televised couldn’t have been better. To run out onto the same field that I've played my entire life on was special for me, my family, my friends, and for the Ram program.”
After growing up around various football programs, while also living in Saskatchewan and spending time as a member of the Eskimos, Mueller has a reason to cheer for nearly every team.
“I cheer for the teams that my friends and former teammates play on,” said Mueller. “Whether it’s the Riders with guys like Jordan Sisco, Nick Hutchins, and Tamon George, or for Brendon LaBatte, who’s with Winnipeg, or John Hashem in Montreal.”
Although Mueller will be keeping tabs on numerous teams and specific players this season, he admits that he has a special appreciation for Edmonton.
“I do find myself cheering for the Eskimos,” replied Mueller. “It’s pretty cool to watch and see guys you practiced with and hung out with every day for a month.”
During his time with the Eskimos, Mueller showed that he has what it takes to play in the CFL; however, he was released from the Eskimos on June 20. With Mueller’s quest to play in the CFL on hold for another year, his attention is back with the Rams and, with his final season fast approaching, he will be able to bring even more knowledge to the field.
“There are so many things that I could bring back from camp.” said Mueller. “But I believe that the most important one is the preparation that guys put in at that level. Whether it’s during practice, or during film, or in the weight room, guys not only put in time, but when they put in the time they make use of every bit of it.”
Mueller can now add CFL experience to an already-impressive resume that includes both city and provincial championships while playing at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, not to mention numerous individual achievements, including U of R single-season records in both pass completions (182) and completion rate (65.5%). However, individual stats mean nothing to Mueller if his team is not doing well. He has said time and time again that his true goal would be to lead the Rams to a victory in BC Place Stadium this season, where he would finally hoist the Vanier Cup.
No matter what the outcome of Mueller’s final season with the Rams may be, he will continue to do what he has always done: “Just go out there, have fun, and play football."