February 5, 2024

Elks in the Offseason: McLeod Bethel-Thompson

EDMONTON, AB – McLeod Bethel-Thompson is already adjusting to life in the Green and Gold.

The veteran quarterback has been training for the upcoming season as he prepares to take the reigns of the Elks offence in 2024. The two-time Grey Cup Champion is looking to inject some life into the EE’s passing game alongside some familiar faces and is the latest member of the squad to be featured on Elks in the Offseason.

All questions and answers provided by 630 CHED’s Morley Scott from Elks This Week. Tune in to 630 CHED every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. to listen live. 

McLeod Bethel-Thompson trains at the UCLA Bruins facility ahead of the 2024 CFL season and his Edmonton Elks debut.

McLeod, it’s been less than two weeks, but how’s life as an Elk?

Yeah, it’s great. I really love it. A lot of people have reached out to me from the Elks organization, and it seems like a very well run organization. Obviously hearing from the coaches, we’ve been in conversation for a little bit now, but hearing from the other part of the organization has been really awesome — whether that be the equipment manager or the communications people or the operations, and just seems like a very well run and really good organization that I’m happy to be a part of.

How do you start now preparing for what’s ahead coming up in 2024? What’s your big to do items right now?

It’s kind of a reset, right? Because I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of different offers to play football, which is such a blessing. I didn’t know if I was going to play early here in the states or later up in Canada. So obviously now my timeframe has stretched out until May when we’re looking at training camp. So obviously the training has to reset first. I want to peak when I’m coming into training camp, and then peak two thirds of the way through the season. So those are two kind of pillars that you set farther down the line. So that resets the training, and then it’s just figuring out what I can do in the meantime.

Now I got five extra months to kind of see how do I fill my free time. Obviously, spending time with my daughter and my wife and fitting that in and then trying to get a hobby because you can’t train too much or get too excited too early. It’s just about mapping that out and having a plan to execute it.

What kind of workouts do you have down there? Are there any CFL guys in your area and are you hooking up with anyone to throw some balls to?

There are always guys. It’s LA, so there’s a personal trainer on every street corner. There’s a lot of NFL guys here in L.A. and Orange County. They all kind of come here for combine training, so there’s plenty of athletes. And then the CFL guys are here and there as well, so I have a great situation at UCLA they open their arms to me, which is awesome. I get to use their amazing facility and then got a bunch of couple personal trainers that I work with to make sure my body’s in the right shape.

You haven’t played for a while. You must be feeling pretty refreshed?

I feel awesome. I feel truly amazing. Going back-to-back with CFL, USFL was a hard stretch that was 30 games in a calendar year and definitely did a reset after that and healed some parts of the body and now I feel phenomenal.

How’s the excitement level? Do you still get kind of excited about a new season, especially with the situation you’re in?

If you’re not excited about it, then you shouldn’t be playing anymore. So that is the hardest part for me, is to slow down. I want to go too fast, and I already did last week. I think I trained five out of the seven days of the week, so that was already too much, and that’s always been a hard part for me. I love the work. I love the process because I believe it crafts who you are. Every workout, every pain, every sweat, everything that you go through is like blows of a hammer that chisels the weak parts of you away. So I truly do love the process, but I can’t get too far ahead of myself and start training too much too early. So that’s the hardest part for me, is to dial it back and make sure I’m doing it smarter, not harder.

How much conversation have you had with Jarious Jackson, your offensive coordinator? Is it too soon to start talking about playbooks and looking at stuff like that?

That’s getting into it. So he has me catching up, so I’m doing my homework. I have to catch up to where he’s at, it’s his offense, and I want to see what the Elks did last year and get myself comfortable with the players. I just got my login to the film this week, so I’m going to start chipping my way away so that we can have those high-level conversations. Jarious Jackson is going to have a conversation at a really high level about how he sees the plays. I have to get up there and I have to catch up with that level of understanding, so I’m going to do some film work here now and start getting with the coaches, hopefully towards the end of the month.

You don’t have to do film work to know about Geno Lewis. You must be excited to be able to throw balls to him?

I’m very excited to get to work with (the recently added Gittens Jr.) and the rest of the receiving corps. I mean, it’s getting pretty scary there in Elk country right now with Geno, Kurleigh (Gittens Jr.), Swerve (Kyran Moore), D-Mitch (Dillon Mitchell) and I know the names go on and on. Kevin Brown in the backfield, it’s getting pretty freaky and I’m very excited to get going.