Former Cougar and newly signed quarterback of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Max Hall was considering giving up on his playing career when he had a chance encounter with former BYU coach and current CFL offensive coordinator Gary Crowton at a restaurant in Provo.
"I had worked all summer to make a camp in the NFL and didn't make it and he just wished me luck and little did I know three or four months later in January he called me back and asked me if I was interested in maybe coming up to Winnipeg to play for him," Hall said in an interview with AM 680 CJOB in Canada.
Hall, who had played one season in the NFL in 2010 with the Arizona Cardinals, appearing in six games, was a graduate assistant for BYU at the time. Hall said he was considering moving on from pursing a playing career after being released from the Cardinals.
"I was getting close to be honest with you. I was kind of about to have to make that decision on whether or not to keep training and staying in shape and getting ready to play or to move on and maybe go participate in a coaching career."
Although Hall took a one year hiatus from playing, he said that coaching BYU quarterbacks helped him stay focused on football.
"There were definitely times when I was out there with (the BYU players) and I would say, 'Man I wish I were playing, I don't feel like I'm done playing yet.' I still feel like I have kind of an edge to me and kind of a desire to be on the field and I didn't know how it was going to happen, but it did," Hall said in the interview.
Earlier this week, Winnipeg released quarterback Alex Brink, who had played with the team for three years. Backup quarterbacks Buck Pierce and Justin Goltz remain on the roster, and Brink told CJOB's Bob Irving that Bombers' management expects Pierce to start this season.
In addition to Hall, the Blue Bombers also signed former Rice quarterback Chase Clement. Clement passed for 9,785 yards with Rice, threw for 99 touchdowns, ran for 25 and caught a touchdown pass. He is also the only quarterback in NCAA history to record at least 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in two consecutive games. He played for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League and was named MVP of the 2010 UFL Championship Game.
"I have a lot of respect for everybody there, I have a lot of respect for Buck [Pierce]. I still have some learning to do in the CFL, learn the game a little bit. I'm going to give it everything I've got, I just want to get better every day, and if I have a chance to get on the field I'm going to take advantage of it," Hall said.
Hall said he plans to attend the Bombers' mini camp at the end of this month. Hall said that he will work hard to adjust to the CFL rules. In addition to having an extra man on the field, CFL fields are 10 yards wider than NFL fields, and the offense has only three downs instead of four.
"Some of those qualities at quarterback just come real natural to me and I just love doing it and I think that's what got me through the NFL. I'm not the biggest guy, but I make good decisions, I get the ball out, and I'm mobile enough to move around the pocket and get out when I need to," Hall said. "The quarterback has to be accurate and he has to make good decisions because you only have three downs and I just think those things I've learned in my career will help me ."