- Free Agency
Mitchell Blair | Riderville.com Staff
REGINA — When he’s not catching passes for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Chris Getzlaf is serving as an investments planner. Getzlaf advises customers as to what is best for their stock portfolio and if he is asked about his football career while giving stock advice, he will give people an answer that relates to his off-field work.
“My stock is still pretty high I think.” Getzlaf said. “I will be the first to admit that last year was a down year for myself when it comes to my expectations and the expectations that others have on me. However, I think I did some pretty good things and I battled through some injuries that affected my performance, but I didn’t let that get me down.”
While Getzlaf had a sub-par 2012, he was still named a West Division All-Star, catching 65 passes for 864 yards and two touchdowns. It begs the question “Have we seen the best of Chris Getzlaf or can he get better?” Getzlaf says the answer to that question is a simple one.
“I don’t think that we have,” Getzlaf admitted. “I’ve learned a few things and even though stats-wise it didn’t look that bad, I know that there were some things I could have done to make myself better and I’ve been concentrating on doing that in the off-season. I want to be a dual threat that can stretch the field vertically along with catching the necessary passes underneath. I haven’t lost any chemistry with Darian and he knows I can make the plays for him.”
While Getzlaf looks ahead to his future with the football club and what he can bring in 2013, he also has quite an off-season story to tell. In fact, he may have the most interesting off-season story out of anyone that will come to training camp in a few months time.
He escaped the prairie winter as many of us do to go to Mexico, but he wasn’t relaxing in the sun. He was busy working at a clinic near Cancun for an organization called “Cvets Pets” that is run by Winnipeg Blue Bomber Chris Cvetkovic. He says it was an experience he won’t soon forget.
“The dogs are really skinny there. They’re malnourished, they’re filthy. You see them everywhere.” Getzlaf said. “We were part of a spayed and neutered clinic in a small town near Cancun and in six days we managed to neuter over 1300 cats and dogs. “
Getzlaf says the one thing he took away from the trip was the way animals that are considered to be pets are treated and how inhumane that treatment is.
“It’s not uncommon to see a dog be malnourished. You walk around and you see a dog with just a two foot chain sitting out in the sun with no food or drink nearby.” Getzlaf said. “It’s really tough to see that. Some dogs came in that had been severely abused because he had been beaten so much. You take it for granted how well animals are treated in Canada and then you see what is happening down there and it’s really an eye-opener.”
As a pet-lover, Getzlaf wasn’t about to come home without bringing an animal home.
“I already have a seven year old pitbull that I’ve had since he was about four weeks old, but I picked up a little Mexican mutt that’s about six months old. We called her Penny and she’s the newest member of our family and she’s fitting in quite well with everyone at the house.”
Having put that experience behind him, Getzlaf now looks forward to what he hopes is a memorable 2013. He knows there’s a buzz there for November and as a hometown kid, he is very excited knowing his team has a legitimate shot at being in and winning the game on their home field.
“It’s always an amazing atmosphere on game day, but I think this year it will be off the chart.” Getzlaf said. “The added seats will be in after Labour Day, so you know you will have more people in here which will make it tougher for the other team to come in here. Having an opportunity to play the big game in front of our fans is a big motivator, and one I certainly hope we get a chance to take advantage of. I’ve seen the support we’ve had in Calgary and Edmonton at Grey Cups I have been involved in so I can’t imagine what kind of support we would have here.”