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If Quincy Redmon can force opposing quarterbacks to endure a fraction of what he’s gone through in life, the Edmonton Eskimos have found themselves a keeper.
A deal signed last weekend, but yet to be announced by the Canadian Football League club, will bring the six-foot-four, 257-pound Fairmont State product to Commonweatlh Stadium for rookie camp in the spring.
“It really came out of thin air. I’ve been pursuing just anything, I just need the opportunity to get film back out there, and my agent and management team stayed hard to it. He called me and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to Canada,’ ” Redmon told WCBC radio’s Garrett Eagan, in Cumberland, Md.
In 2018, the defensive end joined the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent, only to be cut at the end of the preseason.
“Since I’ve been released, I had a few other workouts with other teams, and the thing I heard back most is that I was small for my position. I made it known from that day forward that a coach would never call me small again,” he said in the interview. “I put my head to the sky and I grinded every day. I got with a trainer.
“He took me under his wing and developed me, and ever since then, 365, we’ve been in the gym seven days a week, just not knowing what to expect.”
Or, more like, where to expect. As in the 3,555 km between Edmonton and his home town of Keyser, W. Va.
Because what he expected has remained the same throughout his entire life: That he would pick himself up off the mat and keep fighting.
Like when he suddenly found himself homeless at eight years old.
Or when he ended up getting paralyzed in a football game at nine.
Then, there was the time he collapsed after suffering what was thought to have been a heart attack while playing basketball in Grade 9.
Through it all, Redmon’s endured. And if the Eskimos are waiting until he gets into town in May for physical testing to see exactly what he brings, they should know they’ve got themselves a survivor.
“I was playing in the Salvation Army league and I ran somebody down on the sideline and hit them with my head low and hit the ground. Lights out,” Redmon told the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero a week prior to being released by the Dolphins on Sept. 1, 2018. “I woke up and just remember they were saying, ‘You’re paralyzed.’
“And I realized I was paralyzed. Then the doctors were questionable about me ever walking again, much less playing again. My chances were slim to none. But I had faith from the time I was a young kid. And I never lost faith.
“I was in the hospital for about three weeks. I got out Christmas Eve. That night I was able to get out of my chair. I was able to put the two crutches under me and I had a real bad limp and I was still stuttering real bad. I hadn’t stuttered before. It just did something. It was an (injury) to my spine. I forget what they called it, but it was my left arm, my right leg, the top of my left leg. Couldn’t feel them. For a year, I had to learn how to walk and talk again. I had a real bad stutter and everything. Yeah, it was hard. And, yeah, before that, I was homeless.”
Raised by a single mother of two, Redmon said he knew his dad, “but he was like a stranger,” and, for a time, the trio went from shelter to shelter.
“I just remember as a kid, I didn’t know any better. I just thought that I would go with the flow, not even caring. It was something you didn’t even realize. I was always good,” said Redmon, whose family eventually got back on its feet when his mother got a job at a hospital and moved to Salisbury, Md.
“That’s when I got paralyzed. So it’s always been a road to overcome for me. I eventually got back into things. I got speech therapy. A year later I’m playing baseball.
“But there’s a little bit more of it, because in ninth grade I was playing in a basketball game and I collapsed. Right away doctors thought I had an enlarged heart. So they were actually about to give me a pacemaker, but I’m going, ‘We need another opinion.’ So we went to [West Virginia University] and had hours of testing. They came to find out my heart is just really strong. I have a marathon runner heart. So I have a really slow heartbeat and the muscles around it are just really big. The doctors were like, ‘I don’t know, you can’t play.’ But we got past that.”
“People ask, ‘What’s your backup plan?’ ” he said. “I don’t know. But I know whatever does come my way, I’m going to succeed because I’m going to work as hard as I always have at whatever I do. Whatever I do, I’ll be successful.”
Redmon follows a fellow former Fairmont State Falcons teammate to the CFL this off-season, after five-foot-11, 200-pound wide receiver Fabian Guerra signed with the Montreal Alouettes on Dec. 4.
“Fairmont State to Canada! Congrats to my brother inking with the Edmonton Eskimos,” Guerra posted Sunday on Twitter.
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge
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