College: Northwestern University
In a sport where 6-6, 260-pound giants are attacking from every angle, you'd think a 5-6, 170-pound would want to stay out of the way. Not Mike Clemons.
Even though he's small, he zigzags across the filed like a pinball. Being short often works to my advantage," laughs Mike. "A couple of times, guys have come pretty close to decapitating me, but because I'm short, they missed."
In more than 12 seasons and with three Grey Cup wins, Mike has the agility and skill that has made him one of the best running backs and kick return specialists in the CFL.
He's the first player in pro football history to rack up 24,607 all-purpose yards and hold 12 Argo records including most pass receptions (660).
But Mike wouldn't be where he is today without the support of his mother, a single parent. "She made a lot of sacrifices for me," says Mike. She took me to all my games. Wherever I was, she was. She was my biggest fan."
His mother also gave him values to live by. "As a young kid," he recalls, "I went to church with mom." One summer, Mike attended vacation Bible school. "I learned there it wasn't enough just to believe in God. I had to invite Him into my heart. At the end of the week, that's what I did. I was nine years old." Today, Mike credits his faith in God for his success. "Having God in my life has helped me to be a team player," he explains, "not to be selfish, but to work hard and be disciplined."
When Mike steps on the football field, he doesn't leave his beliefs in the locker room. God is helping me to be patient and keep a cool head," he says, "so I don't hurt my team with foolish penalties."
Mike's positive attitude is popular, both with peers and with fans. He has been named Argonaut player-of-the-year for his outstanding sportsmanship and team spirit. He also received the CFL man-of-the-year award, for his community involvement.
Life as a pro is not only made of awards and victories. There is the stress of traveling and the pressure of performing.
But Mike keeps things in perspective. "I make sure I spend time reading the bible," he says, "and every so often, I try to get away either alone or with my family. When the pressure is on, I ask God to strengthen me so I can do what I have to do, and glorify Him."
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