THN was fortunate enough to catch up with Jesse Lumsden again today and finish off our question and answer period. Our thanks to Jesse for giving us his time and affording us the opportunity.
THN: Thanks for talking to us again Jesse. I'll just pick up where we left off yesterday if that's alright with you?
THN: Scrimmage or not, scoring on Saturday had to be a huge thrill. All young football players dream of taking it to the house in the NFL; talk about how it felt to cross the goal line in front of one of the most ravenous group of football fans on the planet, and did you manage to grab the football?
Jesse: No, I didn't keep the football. I figured I'd try to do it in a preseason game or a regular season game before I kept the football. But it felt great. It always feels great to get some points on the board and the o-line just blocked it up real well and there was just a hole, a wide open hole.
THN: Just act like you've done it before right?
Jesse: Yeah, I was always taught to act like you've done it before. I got a little excited though; I'm not going to lie. (The giant smile on his face proved his sincerity implicitly)
THN: What affect did the crowd have on you on Saturday... 47,000 plus people and then you score...
Jesse: It's the largest crowd I've ever played in front of. So that alone was exciting. I can't imagine what it'll be like in front of 91,000 people. In the CFL, you play in front of crowds of 40,000 or so depending on where you play, but it was a rush. It was a great feeling. This is a great organization to be a part of and to win football games with.
THN: There's a lot of camp left and surely a lot left for you to prove yet, but what has working with two great football minds like Joe Gibbs and Al Saunders already done to improve you as a football player?
Jesse: It's been awesome. You said it... two great football minds... Joe Gibbs runs a great ship around here... all the guys are team players and with Al Saunders new offense... it's very exciting. I'm enjoying learning it and there are definitely some things I'll keep in the back of my mind if I get into coaching.
THN: I got an e-mail today from the Embassy of Canada today to thank me for running some articles on the Canadians at camp. Do you think about that? Do you think about the fact that you're actually down here representing Canada or do you just go about your business? Do you realize how impactful your success could be?
Jesse: Not really, see the thing is that I'm not really representing Canada because many athletes have done much more extreme things than this. All our athletes that go to the World Championships and to the Olympics... those are the athletes that are representing Canada. I'm just down here trying to make a football team and I'm representing myself. But of course I carry the love of my fans with me, and I love the country that I'm from and it will always be my home. But I'm definitely not carrying a burden on my shoulders that I have to do this for my country.
THN: Do you have any advice for Canadian kids that are watching you and trying to get to the NFL?
Jesse: Yeah... work hard and promote yourself. That's probably the biggest thing I've found. I put myself around some good people and I promoted myself. I made sure people saw me; I didn't wait for people to hear about me and then come see me. That was a big deal, especially because Canada's still kind of an unknown pond of talent, but it's picking up and I think you're going to see more and more.
THN: Something many people might not know is that last year you shaved off all of your hair for a cancer charity function. What charities are you involved with?
Jesse: Once I go back home, I'm going to do more work for the Canadian Cancer Society. If I grow my hair out again and can go out again, I'll definitely do the 'Shave for a Cure' function again.
THN: So shaving your head had nothing to do with shaking the moniker of 'Hamilton Hottie'?
Jesse: Oh... that was BAAAAD! (We shared a good hearty laugh) But we raised a lot of money, it's a real good cause and we had a lot of support.
THN: I actually know a very young girl who came home and told her mother that she wanted to cut off all of her hair to 'give to the people who lost their hair in cancer treatments'... and how does a mother say no to that?
Jesse: Yeah, it's an awesome foundation. I know they do it here in the States too, and I really do try to promote it. I love talking about it and I love pledging for it and doing it. It was a great experience.
THN: Last question... can you tell your Redskin fans what Jesse Lumsden is passionate about other than football?
Jesse: Just life in general. I love to read, I love music... spending time with my family. Family is a huge part of my life.
THN: Hence the tattoo? (Jesse has his family crest tattooed to his arm.)
Jesse: Exactly. My tattoo is something that I wear proudly on my arm and I've never regretted it for one day. My parents understand why I did it. But family, friends and just enjoying life are what I'm passionate about.
It bears mentioning that Jesse has been extremely gracious giving THN his time this week. Is it 'unprofessional' to actually be cheering for a guy to actually make the team? I don't know. I guess I'm being unprofessional then, because I am really pulling for him to make the team. He has everything that Joe Gibbs likes in a player - talent, drive, a great attitude and a great work ethic. The Redskins would be a better team with him than without him in my opinion. Even on the practice squad, this kid's attitude would be infectious. His desire to succeed is the type of desire that makes other people work harder at their craft for fear of being supplanted.
The next few weeks will be very challenging for Jesse as he continues to try to make a mark here in Washington. Regardless of the results, he has conducted himself with a level of professionalism and poise that is a credit to football players, let alone Canadian football players.
It's almost inconceivable that the work he has already put in won't translate into success. If the Redskins can't find a place for him, it's very doubtful that he'd have to wait long for someone else to pick him up and give him another chance.
To the Redskins staff - don't let this kid get away. He's earned the right to bleed burgundy and gold for longer than a training camp.