In 2007, Joseph was named the CFL’s most outstanding player en route to leading the Roughriders to the 2007 Grey Cup title.
Where Are They Now?: 2007 seems like yesterday for Kerry Joseph
Each step of Kerry Joseph’s career has been a natural one.
It began with him quarterbacking the McNeese State University Cowboys in St. Charles, La., where he became the all-time career leader in touchdown passes and second in career passing yards and total offence.
After following that with a 17-year playing career, including 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League, Joseph is back at McNeese, where he is now in his second year as co-offensive co-ordinator and receivers coach.
“It is good to be back here,” Joseph says from St. Charles. “To be able to start off my coaching career where I played college ball has been real big for me — teaching young men, this next generation, the game of football and just about life also.”
Joseph, who originally signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996 and spent seven seasons in the NFL and NFL Europe, quarterbacked the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2006, 2007 and again in 2014. Before returning for his final stint with the Riders, he spent three years with the Edmonton Eskimos. Then-head coach Kavis Reed brought in Joseph as more than a backup quarterback.
“He wanted me to be a mentor and be that leader on the football team,” Joseph says. “At that time, I knew that was the direction I was going, just being in the meeting rooms, sometimes running meetings, helping with the game plan. That’s when I had that feeling that (coaching) was something I wanted to do.”
It led to a smooth transition for Joseph, who has done coaching internships with two NFL teams, the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most of Joseph’s off-seasons while playing in the CFL were spent in New Orleans or Miami, so he has appreciated the opportunity to return to Louisiana.
“You take those competitive juices you have and you pour it into your passion for coaching,” the 44-year-old Joseph says. “You live for game day. It’s a great feeling. You have that same energy and that same passion that you had as a player. Now you’re just doing it as a coach. You don’t have to get hit — that’s the lovely part of it.”
In 2007, Joseph was named the CFL’s most outstanding player en route to leading the Roughriders to the 2007 Grey Cup title — only the third championship in franchise history. The Riders defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19 in the Grey Cup game.
Joseph was only the fourth Roughrider to win the most-outstanding-player award, following George Reed (1965) and Ron Lancaster (1970 and 1976).
It hasn’t felt like 10 years to Joseph, and the win remains a huge highlight of his life.
“We had a close family atmosphere as a team,” he says. “Those memories right there are something you hold on to. It was just a great experience, and for me to help guys like Gene Makowsky and guys who had been battling for years and years, who have never gotten that ring, now to finally get it and to hoist that trophy, those memories are going to be etched in my mind forever.”
He said it was the family atmosphere that led the team to victory — that like family, there was the odd disagreement within the locker room, but no one could come from outside and destroy them.
“That was huge for us, because when we got in adverse situations in a game or throughout the season, we pulled together,” he says, adding that he still keeps in touch with some of the players from the team. “We still have a connection, and that’s a bond that was created for a lifetime.
“You can go 10, 15 years, and when you come back together, it seems like it was yesterday.”
Vivid in Jospeh’s mind remains the touchdown pass he threw to Andy Fantuz, as well as the three interceptions by Grey Cup MVP James Johnson. Joseph remembers it as an overall team win, for the players, and also the fans who made the trip to Toronto.
“To see the sea of green in the stands, the fans we had following us all the way to Toronto, it felt like a home game for us, and they played a big part in that victory,” he says.
Joseph appreciates the opportunity to connect with fans through social media, and for all the support and love they’ve continued to give him over the years. When he returns for appearances or a visit, he feels like Saskatchewan is home, and he hopes to see a game in the new stadium soon.
“That football atmosphere was like no other in Canada,” he says of Mosaic Stadium. “I always want to say I’m thankful just for having me in the province of Saskatchewan as one of their own.”
Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn