Audio: Saskatchewan DT Tearrius George talks to CBC about an offseason on the oil rigs

55 Yard Line

Given the low CFL salaries that can sometimes make player recruitment difficult, it's not surprising that many players work second jobs during the offseason. Some even manage to juggle a second job during the season itself. Still, it isn't all that many who wind up with a second job that might be even more physically demanding than football. Saskatchewan Roughriders' defensive tackle Tearrius George and defensive back Macho Harris did just that, though, working on oil rigs throughout the province during the winter. George spoke to the CBC's Eric Anderson about his offseason experience in a clip posted Wednesday, and it makes for a pretty amazing interview. Audio is posted below (and can be found here if that doesn't work), transcribed highlights follow:

George told Anderson the main reason he took the job was to do something physical during the offseason. He said it gave him a whole new respect for football, too.

"[I did it] to get off the couch, man," he said. "You make decent money, and on top of that, it's something physical, man, it's some labour to make you respect coming back out here, which I do so much after working out there."

George said the job made for long days.

"We'd get up at 4:30, drive an hour out and try to get there before our seven o'clock meeting," he said. "We'd want to give it some time, the roads might be slippery or snowy. We'd have a little safety meeting and then we'd have a 12-hour day. We'd have a little lunch in between, but you don't get to leave for lunch, you've got to bring your own lunch. You have 30-40 minutes for lunch and then you're back to work until about 4:30-5, then we got another hour trip home. By the time we got home, it was like 7:30-8, so we'd get a couple of hours of sleep, then go out and do it all over again."

He said he was impressed by the work ethic of his colleagues.
"It's one of those things where the guys out there, man, the number-one thing I heard is 'I love my job, I love my job,' and I'm like, 'Man, if they love this, I shouldn't be complaining at all about football,' so I was ready to get back out here for sure," George said.

The actual labour required George and Harris to be flexible.

"We did a little of everything," George said. "We worked on steel pipe and fiberglass. Fiberglass, we did the actual screwing the pipe together and bolting it on. Digging the ditches, I was playing with the machines a little bit. We had some cool bosses out there, so I was doing the backhoe, doing a couple of little things. On the steel, we had to prep everything, prepare it, move pipes. It was labour, for sure."

He said his coworkers loved working with a couple of Riders.

"Oh yeah, they were pretty hyped," George said. "It was pretty cool. We got a lot of questions about football, some discussing of switching occupations. We asked about theirs, they asked about ours. It was pretty fun."

The Saskatchewan winter weather, on the other hand, was tougher for guys like George (from North Carolina) and Harris (from Virginia) to adapt to.

"The worst part about it was the cold," George said. "Me and Macho stayed in, what is it, Mark's Work Wearhouse or whatever it is? We were in there like 30 times. We had the wrong boots, we had the wrong gloves, we had the wrong mitts."

George said they elected to stick around Saskatchewan to get themselves all set for the CFL season.

"Me and Macho, we wanted to stay, get prepared, work out, do some things, keep our mind on football and take this season a little more serious," he said. "I have my family here and everything. It was one of those things where we wanted to stay and get prepared."

Despite the challenges he faced, George said he wouldn't rule out heading back out to the rigs after his football career ends.

"It could be a possibility," he said. "They make decent money, man."

George said the experience was highly worthwhile overall.

"We had some trials and tribulations, man, we had to go through it all, but at the end of the day, it was not a bad job."

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