WINNIPEG — Maurice Leggett is making impressive progress in his comeback from a torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2017 season, and the Blue Bombers defensive back said a lot of the credit for his recovery goes to the woman he just asked to marry.
Leggett said fiancee Christin Price, an exercise physiologist, is a huge reason he has been able to quickly battle back from an injury once thought to be career-threatening.
“She’s always been there no matter what. The good, bad, and ugly,” said Leggett, who was back on the field this week for Blue Bombers mini-camp, just six months after having surgery on his right leg. “She always keeps me upbeat and keeps me happy.
“She watches me at practice and then gets on me at home. She’s an extension of (Blue Bombers head athletic therapist Al Couture), because once Al is done working on me, I’m at home and she works on me. Even when she was in school she practised on me. We’ve helped each other a lot.”
Leggett and Price met over a decade ago while they were in college together at Valdosta State University in Georgia. The couple got engaged earlier this month.
Leggett was injured during an Oct. 14 game on a seemingly innocent play, where he recovered an onside kick from the B.C. Lions and then crumpled to the ground without sustaining contact. The 31-year-old said Price has been crucial to the mental side of his recovery as the physical.
“She was on me constantly. Constantly,” Leggett said. “When I felt like I didn’t want to do it, she would just give me that push in workouts with me and training me. That’s how it all started, and we built together. We build everything together, even through the ups and downs, it’s frustrating but, I owe her a lot.”
Leggett said Price has gone above and beyond in making sacrifices for him. Price left her career in exercise physiology and moved to Winnipeg along with their 10-year-old son, Malik.
“Canada doesn’t recognize (her education), so it’s been a challenge for her because she’s been up here looking for a job and she can’t get one in the right field,” said Leggett. “She’s not going to accept just another job, because we have a son here in school and she wants to see every game.”
Price had worked at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, as well as Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
“I tried to make her have her own practice down there in Atlanta and contract up a couple high schools and hospitals, but she didn’t want to do that,” Leggett said. ”She wanted to be up here (in Winnipeg).”
Leggett, who is entering his 11th season of professional football, says he considered retirement through the winter.
“She told me no,” said Leggett. “She said, ‘It’s just plain and simple, you’re not retiring. You still have it, so why would you retire? Once it’s done it’s done.’”
The speed of Leggett’s recovery caught a lot of attention, likely sparked by a video he posted to Twitter in January that showed Leggett dunking a basketball at a Winnipeg high school gym. The caption read: “Achilles surgery 15 weeks ago. You think I’ll lose a step next season?”
Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea, a CFL Hall of Famer, is just happy that a torn Achilles’ is no longer the catastrophic injury it used to be.
“20 years ago it was a different outcome. I don’t know wether it’s surgical technique or the rehab protocol,” said O’Shea. “I just think guys come back better from that injury, and I think at a faster rate.”
Leggett and Price are working together, with one of their careers in a holding pattern while the other’s remains in focus to continue on. And once Leggett’s playing days are inevitably over, his focus will shift.
“She’s really my conscience. She’s just like my reminder,” said Leggett. “She says, every goal that I have shared with her, that I haven’t accomplished them yet, so why stop?”