Alouettes' first exhibition game could be career-defining for Deandre Reaves

LENNOXVILLE — There was a brief moment, before he was about to enter his senior season at Marshall University, Deandre Reaves contemplated quitting football, concentrating instead on his education.

Then he quickly realized he could continue that after completing his career.

I ended up making the right decision, he said.

And how.

The diminutive 5-foot-9, 185-pound wide-receiver was the 2015 Conference USA special teams player of the year. He was a first-team all-conference kick returner, a second-team punt-return all-star, the teams most valuable player and the Herds offensive MVP. That season, he also caught a career-high 56 passes for 705 yards, scoring four touchdowns, helping Marshall following the exit of slotback Tommy Shuler.

And now the 25-year-old is attempting to stick with the Alouettes out of training camp following his release by the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers last September. Reaves survived the opening week of training camp, but realizes Thursdays exhibition game at Toronto could ultimately dictate his Canadian Football League future.

Itll probably be the most important game of my career, he said following Monday mornings practice at Bishops University. This is going to be my first opportunity to show what I can do with the ball in my hands.

Theres no doubt Reaves departed Marshall with some impressive credentials. He set a school single-game record in kick-return yards, with 221. He also holds school records for career kickoff return yards (2,548) and average (27.7 yards) on 92 returns. He scored three touchdowns.

Undrafted, Reaves had offers from San Diego and Cincinnati, ultimately deciding on the Chargers. He made it to the final cut before being released.

He and former Buffalo Bill T.J. Graham were recruited to bring more explosive playmaking options to the Als offence, according to general manager Kavis Reed.

Hes explosive with game-changing speed. And hes versatile, Reed said. Hes an accomplished returner. Hes in the playmaker class and can project to be an elite playmaker with some time.

While the Als, predictably, have a plethora of receivers at camp, and it might be difficult for Reaves to dislodge one of the veterans, he could ultimately make it as a backup to returner Stefan Logan. The Als certainly require an option should Logan get injured.

Through more than a week of camp, the one thing about Reaves that has jumped out to head coach Jacques Chapdelaine is the players speed. But like many rookies Reaves, at times, has struggled with the Als complex playbook.

As Reaves explained, due to the motion in the CFL, plays are more complex and he has more to remember. Some players will be in motion before the balls snapped while others are not. Its a lot to comprehend.

He has impressed us as a returner, Chapdelaine said. Hes got some good skills as a receiver. But perhaps coming out of college, where the system wasnt as complex, the learning curve has been steeper.

Having said that, hes got some things you just cant coach. Speed is one of them. Were hoping things fall into place for him. Were willing to be patient.

Although he attended Marshall, the same school as former Als quarterback Rakeem Cato, Reaves said he never spoke to him about coming to the CFL. Instead, he had conversations with former British Columbia linebacker Alex Bazzie, now in the NFL.

Youre thinking theres all that room. I can just go out there and run, Reaves said. But these defensive guys are athletic too. Its harder than it looks. But its a fun game.

Reaves is uncertain how much hell play against the Argonauts. But when hes on the field, he knows he must get into the right spots, be in the quarterbacks line of vision and, once he gets the ball, make something happen.

I have this opportunity now. Lets take full advantage of it, said Reaves, who has a degree in business marketing. My senior year led me to where I am now.

Im happy with my first week. I just have to keep going at it, studying the playbook. Just keep showing I can make plays when my numbers called and make something happen.

Notes — Defensive-back Ryan Phillips, who joined the Als as a free-agent from the Lions, is one of many players suffering from hamstring injuries. Not only will Phillips not play against Toronto, he went to Montreal on Monday for an MRI. Chapdelaine believes the injurys not serious.

Canadian receivers Samuel Giguère and Alex Charette also are suffering from the same lower-body injury and wont play. Giguères injury has opened the door for non-import Devon Bailey, who joined the Als as a free agent from Edmonton.

Import receiver Tavon Gatlin has been released while import defensive-tackle Daniel Awoleke will make his debut on Tuesday. He played collegiately for the University of South Florida.

The Als could have an interest in non-import defensive-back Mikael Charland, who was released on Monday by Ottawa. The 25-year-old, who played collegiately at Concordia, is 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds. He was selected 16th overall by the Redblacks in 2016, but a groin injury limited him to three games as a rookie.

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

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Damien Hirst Debuts New Exhibition at Venice Biennale

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After a lengthy hiatus, artist Damien Hirst returned to the spotlight at this year’s Venice Biennale with a characteristically ambitious, extravagant, and controversial exhibition. Hirst’s conceptual installation “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” took nearly ten years to complete and is now housed in the palatial venues of Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, the buildings that normally hold François Pinault’s famed art collection. Read moreKeep Going Check Out These Great Related Dornob Articles:

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Peculiar Happenings Exhibition launch

On the 6th February the Ripleys Believe It or Not museum in London which is known as being the house of all things weird and wonderful, launched the Peculiar Happenings Exhibition.The Exhibition featured a selection of the iconic props and costumes that were worn and used on the set Tim Burtons Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children.

If like me you are a Tim Burton fan or love film costumes, this is for you. The costumes were designed by Colleen Atwood who has worked on many of Burtons iconic films such as Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Ed Wood and Dark Shadows. When you the amazing detail that went in to each piece such as the sleeve Embroidery on Miss Peregrines sleeves you will be left shocked. Its small details like those that you never see in person that make these exhibitions special as a film viewer. Like previous films each characters outfit is iconic and quirky and makes the character memorable. It is no wonder Atwood is constantly bought back because she brings Tims visions to life impeccably.

Another Iconic costume comes as a pair; the peculiar twins who are unable to show their faces. The costumes themselves depict masked ballerinas or clowns and are one of the most recognized characters from the film because of their their quirky and creepy look.  Along with the costumes, there is a selection of props such as Miss Peregrines pipe and gas mask, Claires hair piece, the twins teddy bear and the record player. The Run Rabbit Run record, all included is featured in an important scene that sets the tone for the entire film. My personal favorite out of all the props featured really represents  Burtons style. This piece is a doll that the character Enoch created and brings to life for his entertainment. The doll it self definitely has the creepy factor and  appears in a amazing scene  bringing it to life through stop motion, something Burton is credited as doing so well.

Once you have soaked up all the cinematic magic and taken in the details of the costumes and props up close,  you can enjoy the rest of the museum. Whilst completing the peculiar trail which will keep you occupied in Tim Burtons universe that bit longer. If you want to see and learn more, then go and visit the Exhibition, which is open from the 7th February to the 5th March. If you want to book in advance you can do so from the Ripleys Believe It or Not website. If you havent already seen the film, it is now out on DVD across the UK so make sure you view it before visiting.

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