DETROIT - Jordan Matechuk still goes to the gym, and he keeps practising his snapping.
The Canadian football player is hoping for another chance after his career was put on hold following his steroid-related arrest in May at the U.S. border in northern Michigan. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats dropped the Yorkton, Sask., native almost immediately, and the 25-year-old long snapper's pro future is in doubt as he tries to rehabilitate his reputation.
"Football was a big part of my life, and now it's gone," Matechuk said.
Matechuk broke his silence Wednesday, just more than a week after pleading guilty in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., to possession of steroids and marijuana. In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Matechuk issued a wide-ranging apology to his former team and rest of the Canadian Football League. Matechuk still faces sentencing in his case. He has an Aug. 24 court date.
"I would like to send out a sincere apology to the Tiger-Cats as a franchise, the CFL as a whole, my teammates, coaching staff and peers within the league, my family and friends, and football fans for the situation that I'm in — with the allegations before me, and the extreme stress this has certainly caused for those closest to me," Matechuk said.
Matechuk was arrested May 31 at the International Bridge border crossing. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said officers seized 543 anabolic steroid pills, 262 millilitres of anabolic steroids in liquid form, 1.25 grams of marijuana, 19 syringes and 51 replacement needles.
CBP said Matechuk told an officer he was travelling to Hamilton from Alberta.
Matechuk won't discuss the specifics surrounding his case, saying he's been advised by his lawyer to stay tight-lipped with the legal process still pending.
"The facts about what has happened aren't as they appear in the media stories I've seen, and there is another side to the story," Matechuk said. "Unfortunately, I can't comment further on it at this time."
The Tiger-Cats released him in early June, with coach Marcel Bellefeulle saying the team demands "honesty and integrity" from its players.
Matechuk says he has no history with steroids and has never had a positive drug test.
"I'm not saying in no way that it was somebody else's or anything like that," he said. "I'm just keeping this matter confidential."
Matechuk said he has sent letters to general managers and personally apologized to the Tiger-Cats. It remains to be seen what effect his contrition will have on potential employers.