Despite having a lot more on his plate these days, Jeremy O’Day has trimmed down considerably.
The former Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive lineman has dropped more than 40 pounds since his retirement from the CFL team two years ago. The svelte, 260-pound O’Day doesn’t believe the shedding of weight is related to the extended hours he’s logging in his new front-office position with the Riders.
“No, I don’t think the boss (general manager Brendan Taman) is working me too hard,” said O’Day , the Riders’ assistant general manager.
“I am working a lot more hours, spending a lot of time in the office and on the phone, going out on recruiting and scouting trips. But I love my job and it has been a lot of fun so far.”
O’Day, who is in his first full season as the assistant to Taman, has been greeted with a whirlwind of off-season activity. The Riders’ roster and coaching staff underwent several changes over the winter, and O’Day played a role in helping bring in a fresh look.
New additions to the coaching staff this past off-season included head coach Corey Chamblin and assistants Jason Tucker, Barron Miles and Khari Jones. The Riders also were vigilant on the freeagent market with the signings of key offensive linemen Brendon LaBatte and Dominic Picard. As well, O’Day had plenty of input on the new players the team scouted and signed.
“When you first start out, you ask a lot of questions. I probably asked 20 questions on my first day on the job,” he said.
“But I guess that’s common with almost any job. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to know all about the business side of football and how things were done.”
Having experience with contract negotiations from a player’s perspective – O’Day worked out his own contracts with the Riders and assisted teammates in their negotiating process — he has found the dealings with player agents from the other side of the table an interesting aspect of his job.
Receiver Sinorice Moss, a former member of the NFL’s New York Giants and whom the Riders signed as a free agent this off-season, is represented by well-known sports agent Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus has more than 150 clients on his list, including NFL standouts Terrell Owens, DeSean Jackson and Chad Ochocinco. O’Day found Rosenhaus to be very professional.
“It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be,” he said. “I have found that agents understand our salarycap structure and have relayed that to their clients. They understand we can’t offer a lot of money right away.
“This is an opportunity for these guys to come up here and play well and maybe get another shot in the NFL, or to play for a bigger contract down the road.”
A player for 14 seasons in the CFL, including the past 12 with the Roughriders, O’Day said he misses the competitive spirit in the dressing room, especially at this time of the year. Mingling with his teammates and preparing for playing a game is a thing of the past.
“I don’t have the same kind of butterflies anymore,” he said.
“A lot of guys are anxious and nervous and some dread training camp. For me, I couldn’t wait for training camp to start this year. After all of the work you put into building this team and putting the players on the roster, you’re excited to see what it looks like.”