Versatility's always a useful trait for players trying to make it in the CFL, and it's certainly helped the Eskimos' Corbin Sharun. Sharun began his football career as a quarterback, playing minor football in Leduc, Alberta, winning three Edmonton city high school championships with the Strathcona Lords and then playing in CIS with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men. However, as he told The Edmonton Sun's Gerry Moddejonge this week, aspirations of playing professionally caused him to change not just positions, but sides of the ball, as he switched to safety in junior football with the Edmonton Wildcats and then was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 CFL draft by the Eskimos at that position:
"I was told that straight out: 'You're not going to make it playing quarterback, so you might as well change positions," said Sharun, who led the Eskimos in special-teams tackles last season before changing positions once again, playing linebacker this year. "Then when I switched over, it was something that I wanted to make the next step.
"It's still playing football, though. That's the main thing in the world. Whatever I had to play, I would play."
It's unfortunate that Sharun wasn't able to make the CFL at his preferred position of quarterback, but the rule that prohibits quarterback nationalities from counting towards the import ratio has made that position an extremely difficult one for Canadian players. There are more and more talented Canadian pivots all the time, but even some of the best prospects like Brad Sinopoli (who's now back with Calgary as an injury replacement) and Kyle Quinlan have been cut, so it's hard to fault Sharun for switching spots. It's sad that he had to, though; as he told Moddejonge, he loved playing quarterback:
"It's the top spot and what everybody wants to play and not many people can play," Sharun said, adding more and more Canadian quarterbacks are slowly getting opportunities. "Maybe try and prove people wrong, is the biggest thing, I guess. That's why I tried to do it."
Still, Sharun's turned what could have been a negative into a positive. He did well as a defensive back and tied the franchise record for special teams tackles last season, earning the Eskimos' nomination as their top special teams player in the process. He's made the switch to linebacker well by most accounts, too, and is currently the primary backup for weakside linebacker Damaso Munoz. He may not have been able to fulfill his dreams of playing quarterback, but the positional switch has worked out for him; that's an unfortunate commentary on the state of Canadian quarterbacks in the CFL, but a fact that speaks well of the versatility of Sharun and others who have made similar transitions successfully.