February 22, 2024

Elks in the Offseason: J-Min Pelley

EDMONTON, AB – He’s big, he’s entertaining, and he’s just getting started.

Elks defensive lineman J-Min Pelley is entering his third season in the Canadian Football League, but he’s already garnered a reputation among fans of the Green and Gold. The 6-5, 330 lb. defensive tackle has overcome unimaginable grief in his early career and has established himself as an up-and-coming national talent on the defensive line.

In the latest instalment of Elks in the Offseason, GoElks.com sits down with the Canadian monster in the middle J-Min Pelley.

First, how’s your offseason going?

Not bad. You know, it’s been pretty busy early on with a trip down to Pittsburgh, so that ended what would be my little break before kicking it into the real offseason and starting workouts and such. It’s been pretty fast paced and treating me pretty well. So excited going forward.

So are you kind of making Edmonton your base this year or where are you staying? 

Yeah, I’ve actually been here since I got here. That’s one thing that I think that a lot of the fans, especially the ones that know this and watch some of the podcasts surrounding our team, know about me is that I like to call Edmonton my home. I haven’t been back to Calgary in about a year and a half or something. Like, I didn’t even go when we played there last year because of my injury and I just didn’t want to be back in the city. I found a new home in Edmonton and I’ve really embraced it and I feel like the city embraces me as well.

I was going to ask you about that. How has that transition been like being a born and raised Calgarian and coming to Edmonton? 

It was special because I did have a disdain for Edmonton when I first came here, not going to lie. I did join the practice roster with the Stampeders as well in 2017, so the Stamps were kind of my team being from there, but coming here, it’s not hard to fall in love with the city. The river valley, downtown, all the nice views that you can go see. I have a dog, so I like to do that. It wasn’t hard for me to fall in love with the city and I really do feel like the city showed it back to me. So it’s been great.

You said that your offseason training kind of is just getting started?

Yeah. So it’s just getting started. Sorry that McRib is in me. I’m going to have some acid reflex from the barbecue sauce (Pelley filmed a TikTok video prior to the interview). So my offseason training is just about to resume again. I took a break pretty much since I’ve been back from Pittsburgh. My workout was on Jan. 4  and I just wanted to take some time to spend with the family and just recoup and let my body heal up fully and get back to it.

@goelks The McRib returns to Canada. You know we had to grab a few for the boys. #GoElks #CFL #mcrib ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

What was that NFL tryout like in Pittsburgh like?

It was a very cool experience. That was my first chance to face-to-face communicate with an NFL team and present myself for who I am. It was a very cool experience just showing myself that I can get there. A kid from Canada can be down there. I have a lot of friends that are in the league, so they show me all the time, but it was a cool experience for myself to prove it to myself that I can do it as well. It was a cool time, meeting coaching staff, meeting some players, getting into the locker room. It honestly felt the same when I came to Edmonton for the first time, being in such a great locker historically, you see all the pictures on the wall of all the great players that played there before, and it’s kind of a rush of a mix of emotions. So very cool.

All right, what does a typical day for you look like right now?

Oh, man. Wake up, get my daughter ready for school, drive her to school, come back home, bring coffee to my wife, and then hit the gym till about 12-1 p.m.. Then I go back home, take my dog out for a walk, and then back to pick up my daughter. After that I’m at home chilling with the fam for the rest of the night.

What kind of dog you got?

I have a Great Dane, and he’s a big boy.

He’s still a puppy. He’s about a year and four or five months now, so he’s still a big puppy. He has a little more energy than I’d like. But yeah, he’s great and he’s great with my kids for sure. So definitely love having him.

Last question. Is there a story behind the name J-Min and how that came to be or how it was selected?

No. I get this a lot with the dash in my name, there’s absolutely no story. I think my mom just wanted to be unique, and I guess it is pretty unique, but in my view, it kind of sucks because it’s hard to spell it on government papers. Every time I say there’s a dash, there’s a lot of confusion from a lot of people anytime I say it. So it’s a blessing and a curse.