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Elsworth inks deal with CFL's Montreal Alouettes



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July 16, 2014 - On Tuesday the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League announced the have signed Goodrich native and Michigan State standout Kyler Elsworth to a contract.

"I got a call on July 6 from Montreal and flew out the next day," said Elsworth in an interview on Wednesday from Montreal. "After a physical, I did some drills in shorts and T-shirt and put some pads on Wednesday then went to the Alouettes game on Friday. They did not say much over the weekend, and watched more film on Monday. Then Tuesday morning I signed a contract for the practice team and the active roster contract."

"I know one word in French—oui," laughed Elsworth from his hotel room in Montreal. "But I'm playing professional football and my teammates all speak English. I'm starting to play with Montreal four games into the season, so it's going to take some time to get up to speed at linebacker."

A wrestling stand-out as a Martian—his stellar wrestling career featured a school record 232 wins, along with two individual state titles and two team state crowns, stepped away from his years as a Martian grappler for a shot at Division I college football at MSU. Elsworth, at 6'1", 235-pounds, was a fifth-year senior for the Michigan State Spartans. He played in all the MSU games while on the team, mostly on special teams and some at the linebacker position. His first career start for the Green and White would be to lead the best defense in the country into the Rose Bowl. On New Year's Day 2014, Elsworth stuffed Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt on a fourth-and-short and sealed a Rose Bowl victory for Michigan State (13-1) 24-20 over Stanford (11-3) with more than 95,000 in attendance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Elsworth said Montreal representatives attended the MSU pro day in March at Spartan Stadium.

"They were the only CFL team there and I spoke with them," he said. "I went to Washington Redskins mini camp for three days, but after a month or so they never called me back. I was waiting for someone to get cut from the team or hurt for that matter. I did not want to miss this opportunity. The whole time Montreal stayed interested in me."

The Montreal Alouettes are 1-2 in the East Division of the Canadian Football League, which plays from about mid-June until early November. Since 1996, the Alouettes, meaning a lark or skylark, have played in the Grey Cup eight times between 2000 and 2010—winning three cups including back-to-back 2009 and 2010, both against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"The practices with the Alouettes are short and to the point," he said. "At the professional level, everyone should know the basics of tackling—also we are now an investment and they don't want guys to get hurt. There are players on the team who were in the NFL—like Chad Johnson, a six-time Pro Bowler who played for the Cincinnati Bengals. There are some really great professional players on the team. The biggest change is the style of play difference, it's very fast. However, after four years of division one college football there's not a lot of difference, it's the same caliber of players."

There are a few differences in the Canadian Football League including 12 players on a 110 yard field—with three downs to move the ball 10 yards.

"It really does not matter where you come from," he added. "People care more about your work ethic. I'm proud of Michigan State and being from Goodrich. I don't have to get up and go to classes then practice anymore. I just get up and go to work on the field. It's a great way to make a living."

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