Just like every other day, this one found Mike Beaudry putting himself through a rigorous workout at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, doing everything possible to maintain peak fitness.
Beaudry was in the middle of squats, listening to music through his AirPods, when the message arrived. It was from Edmonton Elks assistant general manager Geroy Simon:
Do you want to go to Montreal this week?’
Beaudry stopped, returned the bar to the rack, and texted right back:
Hell yeah I do!
“I was pumped,” said Beaudry, who will dress for the first regular season game of his pro football career, backing up Taylor Cornelius at quarterback when the Elks visit the Montreal Alouettes at Percival Molson Stadium on Thursday. “I’m ready to go.”
There is nothing in a pro player’s career that can replicate the magic of their first game, when years of hard work pay off with a lifelong dream being realized. And there are few pro players that can appreciate the moment more than Beaudry, who’s been stuck on a roller coaster since first signing with the Elks in April.
After initially landing on Edmonton’s practice roster, Beaudry was released just prior to the Elks’ first game of the regular season on June 11. The rookie from Regina was added back on the practice roster on June 14, then released again on June 27. Two weeks later he’s back, only this time, for the first time, he’s on the active roster.
“It’s been crazy,” said Beaudry, who completed his college career in 2021, at the University of Idaho. “I think it’s a good introduction to professional football. I really didn’t know wat to expect at all, obviously it’s my first run-through playing pro football, so I just kind of take it as it comes.
“I have a lot of respect for the organization. Coach (Chris) Jones and Geroy have been super up front with me, been very transparent and very easy to talk to, easy to get a hold of, so there’s never been any questions of where I’m at or anything like that,” continues Beaudry, who has stayed upbeat, being aware that CFL roster management is an ongoing numbers’ game. He just had to wait for those numbers to add up to the one on his jersey: 35.
“I know that I want to be here and I want to play here, I want to play for them, so that’s really where I keep my mindset. I just feel if I stay ready, I’ve been believing that I’m going to get another chance every single time and so far I’ve been right.”
GLOBAL GAME PREVIEW: ELKS @ ALOUETTES
In between his practice roster stints, Beaudry’s been running and lifting weights at the Commonwealth Rec Centre.
“I’ve been working out, just trying to keep it shape, because honestly, I don’t know what to expect any more at this point,” he adds. “You just got to be positive and be ready to go whenever they call you.”
That call arrived at the start of this week, giving Beaudry just enough time to get in some practice reps before hopping the charter to Montreal, where he celebrated his 25th birthday Wednesday.
He’ll be somewhat flying by the seat of his pants should he get into the game Thursday, but if Beaudry has proven anything, it’s that he can handle whatever is thrown his way.
“One of the things I’ve learned now is just don’t stress,” Beaudry says. “It will always come back to you at the end of the day. You’re a football player, you’ve made it this far, so you just kind of rely on your instincts taking over.”