Tanner Green joked Wednesday that he would play on Mars if it meant getting back on the field and playing that game he loves.
Green, a Lacombe native and two-year CFL pro has been waiting patiently for nearly 17 months to get back on the field with the Edmonton Football Team.
His last game was the 2019 CFL Eastern Final, against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The 2020 season was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic and this season was on somewhat shaky ground until an unexpected announcement from the league Wednesday.
The CFL has targeted Aug. 5 as a return to play date for a 14-game season, which was postponed from the original start date of June 10.
“I was excited to have a regular starting date. Just seeing everything that is happening and the prospect of the season still being up in the air, I’m glad they’ve set a more firm date,” Green said.
“I remember last season it was ‘we’re going to postpone the season’ and they didn’t set any dates. So it was still all up in the air. At least now we can plan for a start.”
A statement from CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said Wednesday they need the approval of public health officials across the country in order to play, as well as permission to host a “significant number of fans in the stands, in a significant number of venues.”
Green says the uncertainty over the last year has been tough, but he’s stayed ready over the past year and is excited at the prospect of playing again.
“I’ve consistently been in the gym and on the field about five days a week. I’ve stayed ready. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m as strong as I’ve ever been. Just excited to get back out on the field,” he said.
I believe today’s @CFL announcement was meant to provide confidence that the league is intent on playing. You could feel the skepticism growing and the “here we go again” creeping into peoples minds. Some of that may still exist, no question.
— David William Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) April 21, 2021
As for most, it’s been a tough year financially and mentally for the 28-year-old fullback.
Not only has his dream job in the CFL been put on hold, training young players at The Dome in Red Deer, has also been paused for the most part. Green’s wife, Erika has been working throughout most of the pandemic and has been able to support the duo.
“If it wasn’t for that, financially, it would have been quite a struggle. We’re going on a year and a half by the time we get going and my job as a (strength and conditioning) coach and the football camp that I was running got shut down as well,” he said.
“It’s put a lot of stress on me financially to be able to provide. I’m glad my wife has been able to continue to work and hold down the fort while all this is going on.”
Still, Green knows he needs to stay positive in order to help those young athletes who will more than likely miss out on their second full season of competition.
“Big-time trying to stay positive for the athletes around here. Especially because all my football kids, they’re looking at another year or probably having no football. I have rugby kids that probably aren’t going to have a season. They’re going on two years straight without the sports they love,” Green said.
“Just trying to be positive for them, just as well as I am and we as a team are.”