Saturday’s B.C. Lions’ free-agent camp in Seattle was a last chance at professional football for some players, but for others, it represented their first attempt to dip their toes in the pro waters. That was the case for Peter Nguyen, a receiver/running back hopeful, who just graduated from the University of Montana. Near the start of Saturday’s camp, he said he was excited to get the chance to try and compete for a professional job.
“It’s great, I really enjoy it, just kind of getting this opportunity to see if I can play at the next level,” Nguyen said.
He said his experience is mostly as a running back and returner, but he’s open to being versatile professionally.
“I played at the University of Montana, I played running back and punt returner,” Nguyen said. “Running back or slot receiver or punt returner or kickoff returner would be great, but anything’s okay.”
Here's a video of Nguyen catching a pass during a corner-route receiving drill Saturday (his run starts at 1:35):
For Nguyen, it was a quick turnaround from finishing college to attempting to make the pro ranks.
“I am fresh out of college, I just graduated this week,” he said. “I just got back from Montana and came out here to try out for this.”
He said he got the heads-up about the camp from his agent, and it sounded like an enticing opportunity.
“My agent told me about this, he was like, ‘You should check this out,” and I was like ‘Okay, I’ll definitely check it out.”
Nguyen said it helped that this camp was located close to home for him.
“I’m from Seattle, just nearby here,” he said.
He said he wasn’t all that familiar with the CFL game, but what he heard about it sounded promising for a shorter, quicker player like him.
“I don’t know too much, but I know the field’s a little bigger, a lot more space up there,” he said. “They’re known for their speed and quickness.”
Nguyen’s hoping for a football career, but that’s not his only option; he finished with a business management degree from Montana and said working in that area’s his backup plan. However, he said he loves football and wants to carry on with it.
“I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, but it’s definitely something I want to continue in,” he said.
Despite competing against nearly 75 other athletes, Nguyen was optimistic about his chances.
“I feel good. I’m prepared,” he said. “I just hope something comes out.”
Nguyen was one of the players left in the final group of receivers versus defensive backs drills, so we might well see him in the CFL some day.