Winnipeg tells McCoy to go to New Orleans

By Brian Linder
Updated: May 3, 2008

RAVENEL — Every afternoon, Cleve McCoy clocks out from his job as a dishwasher at Justine’s Restaurant in Downtown Charleston and heads to Baptist Hill High School.

There, former high school teammate Clarence Matthews and current Newberry linebacker Devon Smalls await. For the past couple of weeks, McCoy’s been torn.

Does he have Matthews who, at 6-5 was his main target in their playing days at Baptist Hill High catch passes or does he have Matthews, who was his backup at quarterback, throw him passes while Smalls does his best to cover him?

McCoy had a solid contract offer on the table as a quarterback from the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers prior to the NFL Draft — and was set to sign that contract — before the New Orleans Saints called Monday.

McCoy caught passes for the Saints at South Carolina State’s Pro Day and was aware that his path to the NFL was likely at that position. New Orleans thought the same and confirmed that by offering him a chance to tryout as a receiver.

McCoy was then faced with another question — take the guaranteed deal or go to the Saints rookie mini-camp for what could be just a three-day cup of coffee in the league?

All of that cleared up Wednesday evening when his agent, Robert Walker, called. McCoy has one week to catch as many passes as he can from Matthews before he heads to Saints’ camp.

“He told me they were going to let me go over there and go to the mini-camp,” McCoy said. “Basically, everything with the contract is still the same. The guy from Canada said he knew (playing in the NFL) is every kid’s dream. They are going to let me pursue it.

“The contract is still there,” he added. “It’s a ‘Plan A’ and a ‘Plan B.’” McCoy originally said he believed the CFL contract would be for two years. Instead, it’s a one-year deal, but that didn’t matter Wednesday.

“I feel great,” he said. “Everything is working out on its own. That is the great thing about it. It relieves a lot of pressure, and with pressure off of you you can do a whole lot better. I will be in a comfort zone when I go up there to New Orleans next week.

“This is a great thing,” he continued. “I’m appreciative of what (Winnipeg) is letting me do. For them to do that for me…it just goes to show they are really interested.”