August 24, 2016

Fogg Fitting Right In

They dance, they sing, and they’re ball-hawk defenders who lead the league in turnovers.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers secondary is as tight-knit a group as you’ll find anywhere across the Canadian Football League, with new additions such as Kevin Fogg fitting right in with the core group of veterans.

And it all started with a birthday.

“Oh my goodness…” began Fogg while rolling his eyes, looking to the sky and seemingly knowing what teammate Maurice Leggett was about to say.

“I was messing with him as a rookie prank,” began Leggett, all the while trying to keep a straight face.

“When we became Facebook friends, I decided it was going to be his birthday every day and everyone else just ran with it because he’s a rookie.”

The pair of defensive backs have just finished practice and are taking a few minutes to talk about the growing false-birthday joke that has been escalating since the start of the season.

Fogg’s birthday, it should be known, is October 6th.

“Because Moe is Moe and everyone likes to listen to him… Everybody loves to tell me happy birthday EVERY. SINGLE. DAY,” explains Fogg.

“Even on our off days! Even during bye week! I got so many happy birthdays; texts, tweets, instagrams…”

Kevin Fogg Maurice Leggett

At this rate, the 25 year-old Fogg has had more than double his age in fake birthdays. He even came home from a recent road trip to find his locker decorated in streamers, banners, stickers and notes wishing him a happy birthday. A prank he knows was conceived by Leggett.

“I cannot confirm nor deny that I had any part in that…” denied Leggett, rather unconvincingly. “I mean I would have bought streamers, I would have bought a cake…”

“What do you mean?!” interjected Fogg, “I had streamers ALL OVER MY LOCKER!”

“He was the brains behind it. He got the equipment managers to do it while we were away. And he still to this day does not want to confess to it. You are the only one that would think of something like that!”

What initially was a prank to welcome the rookie to the team has now turned into a season-long running joke that now also involves coaches, equipment managers, trainers and staff.

And if a four-month long birthday sounds like it would lead to an extravagant finale on Fogg’s real birthday in October, think again.

Kevin Fogg Maurice Leggett

“His birthday is going to overshadow me,” explains Fogg. Leggett’s birthday happens to be just four days before his.

“So I’m just going to let him have his big day. What he’s been doing is, because he’s been saying happy birthday to me right now, when it gets to be around my birthday, it’s his time…”

“I’m not going to say anything. I’m just going to walk past him and not acknowledge him,” cut in Leggett with a smirk.

“See,” added Fogg, shaking his head. “That’s what I get. Every day.”

Fogg has been a quick study and has instantly been welcomed in by the club’s defence, both veterans and newcomers alike. But if he thought for a moment that a solid introduction – plus the fact that his eight games under his belt means he is no longer considered a rookie by the letter of CFL law – would earn him a break from his teammates, he was dead wrong.

It’s clear his crew has a different plan for the Raleigh, NC native. A rookie is a rookie, after all, no matter how many games he has played.

“See, I tried to give Chris Randle that speech today but he shut me down completely,” said Fogg.

“He said ‘no, you’re still a rookie. As a matter of fact, we need some donuts. Go get us some donuts.’”

Still, for all the teasing, all the jokes and the pranks, Fogg has quickly earned the respect and friendship of his teammates. His production on the field and personality off it has allowed him to make a seamless transition into the locker room.

Kevin Fogg Maurice Leggett

“I tell everyone I’m a fan of Fogg. I’m a fan of Fogg,” said Leggett, slapping his teammate on the back. “I have to remind myself that I’m playing with him and not watching him, so I can block and he can score you know?”

“He is SO full of it!” Fogg exclaimed. “You hear this now but off the field, he’s like ‘yep. Got more touchdowns than you…’ And now he’s talking about how he wants to block for me! No, that is false.”

Just for the record, Fogg has three interceptions and a sack, but no touchdowns on the stat sheet yet (two of his punt-return touchdowns were called back on penalties) and is constantly being reminded that Leggett has the edge with two touchdowns and four interceptions this season.

The older brother repeatedly reminding the little brother that he’s just that – the young buck earning his stripes.

“He reminds me of myself,” said Leggett, glancing over at Fogg. “He sneaks them in, he sneaks his Moe ways in. And people don’t really know that. We’re always around each other, so he has those moments and then everyone thinks it’s me.”

“He’s such a nice guy… people don’t know that he’s feisty. He’s a little feisty guy. He’s mean when he wants to be. And I like it.”

Fogg offered a vehement denial, proclaiming, “That’s false! That’s false!”

The last word – and the last shot – goes to Leggett.

“Hey, if there was a fight, I’d take him. I’d feel safe,” said Leggett, pausing for dramatic effect. “I mean he has napoleon complex so…

“But seriously, I wouldn’t change him for the world.”