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THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — Some people wear their emotions on their sleeve. Casey Chin wears his on his right shoulder.
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The Simon Fraser standout linebacker sports a large tattoo in honour of his father, Kevin, a longtime football coach who died suddenly in 2007.
“I think about him every single day,” Chin said Sunday after completing the one-on-one drills at the CFL combine. “He was my first coach and in my opinion was the best coach I’ve ever had.
“I always want to make him proud in everything I do. It’s all about hard work, that’s the No. 1 thing he taught me.”
The tattoo honouring Chin’s father covers his entire shoulder. Below it is a short message running down Chin’s arm roughly to the elbow that reads:
You always told me to start strong and finish stronger and I now understand what you mean. We miss you very much and you taught us to live a full life. All I can hope is I live life to the fullest as you did.
I love you.“
Those words have special significance to Chin.
“If I were to see my dad one more time, that’s exactly what I would tell him,” Chin said. “I got the tattoo because I’m not afraid of people asking me about it and telling them everything I do is not only for me but also my family and especially my dad.
“His message was it doesn’t matter how good someone is there’s always going to be someone better so you’ve got to be the hardest worker. I’m the shortest and lightest linebacker (at CFL combine) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be last in every single category.”
The five-foot-10, 214-pound native of Port Moody, B.C., tested well at the combine, finishing no worse than third among the six linebackers in any individual event. He had an impressive 25 reps in the bench press, just two behind leader Jesse Briggs of McGill.
Chin certainly developed a nose for the football at Simon Fraser, three times leading the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in tackles. But the one-on-one drills last Sunday were challenging because Chin plays American football in the GNAC.
The motion and lining up a yard off the ball were two nuances of Canadian football Chin had to adjust to on the fly.
“I worked on things very hard prior to coming here but it’s not the same,” Chin said. “All in all, though, I think I did pretty well but obviously there’s a whole bunch of things I need to improve on.”
Chin also showed a versatility that won’t hurt his draft stock. He longsnapped effectively Sunday – something his father predicted would come in handy one day – and would welcome cutting his teeth in pro football on special teams.
“My dad taught me how to longsnap and told me, ‘One day you’re going to get paid to do this,’ and I was like, ‘Whatever, dad,'” Chin said with a chuckle. “I know today he was looking down on me and I hope I made him proud.
“When you come into the CFL you can’t expect to play right away because there are so many good players, so many great linebackers on each team. So if you want to make an impact you’ve got to do it on special teams first and work your way up.”
CFL officials have certainly noticed Chin’s impressive accomplishments at Simon Fraser. The league’s scouting bureau listed him 11th among the top-15 prospects for this year’s draft yet Chin still felt he had something to prove at the combine.
“I always pride myself on being the best so the first thing I looked at on that list was I was only the third linebacker on it,”
he said. “I’ve never seen any of these guys play whereas they likely know each other and probably look at me as more of an outsider.
“So I wanted to come and prove I belong here, I belong at the next level and honestly, I’m not going to stop until I’m the best. It might be a little arrogant of me to say I want to be the best ever but that’s the way I’ve grown up.”
The biggest knock against Chin playing in the CFL is his size, but there’s no doubt in his mind he’s a linebacker at the next level.
“My heart is at linebacker,” he said. “With all the conditioning I did to prepare for this I ended up shedding a little more weight.
“I played (last year) between 215 and 220 pounds but I think I can play at 212 and be just as effective.”