EDMONTON — Esks fullback Calvin McCarty doesn’t put a big emphasis on numbers.
If you look at his career stats, you may think his role is slowly diminishing.
“My role has continued to change with all the different coaches over the years, but I think that’s a big part of what’s kept me here. I’m able to adapt and do a lot of different things on the field,” says McCarty, who’s entering his eighth season with the Green and Gold.
“My style of game may not be filled with big juke cuts or runs, but if you give me four quarters in there, and the dust settles, I’ve affected the game in different aspects and it’s not just in the run column.”
McCarty has been a feature running back. In 2008, he recorded 1,073 combined yards and five touchdowns.
He’s also spent lots of time on the sidelines learning different aspects of the game.
He’s proven to be solid on special teams with 53 special teams tackles in his first seven seasons, a threat to catch the ball in the back field with over 1,400 career receiving yards and has evolved into a leader in the locker room.
Only one stat matters to him: The number of Grey Cup championships.
His game is focused on a “What do you need me to do now coach?” approach.
“When I look back at my second season in 2008, when I had over 1,000 all-purpose yards… when it came to the mental side of the game, I was out there just running around trying not to make mistakes,” says McCarty.
“There’s more to this game than being the guy who makes the big play. If I can be in there and help buy us some more time by making a key block, it’s just as good to me being on the other end of catching a screen pass, moving the chains and scoring a touchdown.”
When McCarty was drafted in 2007, he learned from veteran players who had Grey Cup experience – now he’s a veteran young Esks can lean on.
“Guys like A.J. Gass and Shannon Garrett, they were always willing to help me out both on and off the field, and they instilled a sense of pressure to perform,” recalls McCarty.
“The bar was set high and it’s my responsibility to carry it forward.”
“When you see the tradition and all the great players that have played for this organization, it motivates you to not just become a stat.
“I love the game and I know there are guys out there wishing they had this opportunity and I’m not going to be a squeaky wheel complaining about playing time or my role. I just want to contribute in any way I can to the team.”