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March 6, 2017

Thomas Miles | Back Home

Toronto's Thomas Miles celebrates making during first half CFL action in Toronto on Friday, November 6, 2015. (CFL PHOTO - Dave Chidley)

Thomas Miles has always had a healthy perspective on playing football professionally.

It’s been a privilege and a thrill. And, having to grind every day to get to the Canadian Football League and then grind even harder just to stay on a roster, he understands as well as anyone how quickly it can all fade away.

That perspective has also helped the University of Manitoba product appreciate what has unfolded for him in the last week, from being released by the Toronto Argonauts to signing today with his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Yes, sometimes the stars and moons do align just right.

“It’s a wonderful turn of events and pretty good fortune to go from being released to now signing with the team that I’ve wanted to play for since I started playing football,” began Miles in an interview with bluebombers.com.

“I was a little later in getting into the game and as soon as I gave up the dream of playing in the NHL, the Bombers and playing in the CFL became my goal. My entire family has Bomber season tickets and my grandma held them for over 40-50 years before she passed away five years ago. The rest of the family has tickets but they are up in the nosebleeds. They may be looking at upgrades now.”

“So I can say Bomber blood runs in our family. It’s perfect, really, to be coming home.”

The signing of Miles comes a day after the Bombers added another key piece to their kick cover/kick return units in former Edmonton Eskimos fullback Mike Miller, who led the CFL in special teams tackles last year.

Miles, a proud product of the Churchill Bulldogs, has spent the last three seasons with the Argos after being taken in the fourth round, 33rd overall, in the 2014 CFL Draft. The 6-1, 230-pound linebacker has played in 40 games, eight of them starts, and last year appeared in 11 games.

Toronto Argonauts' Thomas Miles, top, tackles Calgary Stampeders' Jamal Nixon during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Toronto Argonauts’ Thomas Miles, top, tackles Calgary Stampeders’ Jamal Nixon during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh


 

“After I was released I told my agent Winnipeg was where I wanted to be,” said Miles. “And he made it happen. We didn’t want to waste any time.

“When I went to the Argos in 2014, Coach O’Shea had just left (to become head coach of the Bombers) and all I heard was that he was an amazing coach and a special special teams coach in terms of scheme, technique and understanding what it’s all about. Getting to play for him is going to be a really good experience for me.”

Two background bits about Miles that Bomber fans may find interesting:

  • He has a peanut allergy and has been a media ambassador for Anaphylaxis Canada for the last four years, and has run mentoring programs for kids who have allergies.
  • He has appeared in three operas as an extra and has developed a love for the performances

 

“It started about five years ago when the Manitoba Opera e-mailed the University of Manitoba football team looking for big football players to play soldiers in the production of Aida. I was the only guy to reply. I thought it would be neat and I just fell in love with it. I’ve been a soldier, a police officer in La Boheme, and a guard in Turnadot.

“They asked me to come back after and the year after that. I can’t sing, but I can walk around and look kinda big.”