Not all gridiron fans get that granular about rosters for a Week 1 game, but Ford became the first Canadian quarterback in over 40 years to be taken in the first round of the Canadian Football League draft when he was chosen last month. He also had NFL interest as a QB from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants after exhibiting his passing ability and track-star speed during various pro days in the lead-up to both leagues’ drafts. For now, though, the Elks have the 24-year-old Ford listed as a backup wide receiver. Ford wore No. 5 during his university days with the Waterloo Warriors, but has been given the No. 2 made famous by Henry (Gizmo) Williams in Edmonton.
Edmonton faces the British Columbia Lions — who have their own homebrew QBs in starter Nathan O’Rourke of Oakville and backup Michael O’Connor of Ottawa — at 10 p.m. on Saturday in Vancouver.
Canadian quarterbacks have often had an uphill battle to get a foothold in the CFL, whose rules require teams to have seven nationals among the 24 starters on defence and offence. There have been some success stories in recent years, including the Lions’ duo of O’Rourke and O’Connor.
Other quarterbacks — think Brad Sinopoli, who became a standout slotback with the Ottawa Redblacks — have converted to other positions. Seeing Ford listed as a receiver fuelled some speculation about a switch. That said, Edmonton coach-GM Chris Jones has long been known for a certain amount of gamesmanship.