Geoff Drover wants to come home. The first Newfoundlander to play it the Canadian Football League, Drover has been working at various jobs around the country since he left professional football and while he's enjoying his current work in Ottawa, he yearns to return to his home province one day.
The 31-year-old Kilbride native, who played four years for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was released from the Bombers in 2005 after failing the team physical due to ankle problems following two off-season operations.
It brought an end to a remarkable story of a former gymnast who went on to star at the University of Calgary despite not having played organized football as a youth.
When his pro football career ended, he became the recreation programmer for Fort Smith, a small community in the Northwest Territories, near the border with Alberta.
These days, Drover is a strength and conditioning specialist for the Canadian Forces Special Operations.
"The work environment this past year has been great," said Drover, "but I'll always have the bug for Newfoundland. Like most Newfoundlanders living away, I am hoping to get back some day."
He doesn't play any football these days, not even the touch variety. Instead, he keeps in shape by running and playing some ball hockey.
"There is a steep learning curve,' said Drover. "I have a new respect for long distance runners and hockey sticks."
Drover signed with the Blue Bombers and made the team's taxi squad in 2001. The following season, he was part of the Bombers' regular roster, eventually becoming a starter. A wide receiver who also played on special teams and briefly as a safety, Drover had 29 catches for 458 receiving yards, one touchdown (as a special teams player), around two dozen tackles and a quarterback sack in his time with Winnipeg.