Red Dogs to honour Mears

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April 28, 2016 12:00 AM

Lloyd Mears was a member of the Lloydminster Red Dogs from 2011-2012.

Sometimes you don’t pick the best player. Sometimes you pick the player that will fit the best.
That was the case with Lloyd Mears, who had no football experience before walking into the Lloydminster Red Dogs spring camp looking to make the team in 2011.
A natural athlete with a strong desire to learn the game, Mears passion came through on the field, and despite a heavily talent camp with perhaps more skilled players, the coaching staff after much thought, made Mears a member of the Red Dogs midget football team.
And once you are part of the family, you are for life. That is why the Red Dogs will honour Mears, who passed away earlier this month at age 22, by wearing his No. 76 on their helmets for their home game against the Battle River Shock on Saturday.
“Where he lacked talent he had a huge heart and he tried his butt off,” said Red Dogs head coach Rod Kirby. “Some how he made the team that year. He was an emotional favourite for a lot of the coaches. He worked hard and he had a lot of intensity, so we kept him around thinking maybe he could be a special teams player. He turned into a pretty good special teams player and ended up getting in on the defensive end in 2012 as well.
“He overcame a lot of obstacles in life. He had a really tough upbringing. Football helped him fit in with a lot of the guys and it really changed him as a person.”
Kirby said his personality was infectious, and it was one of the main reasons Mears was given a spot on the Red Dogs. Players and coaches remember his smile and his love for the game. And it was the character he brought to the field, more so than the talent, that made him an important player on the Red Dogs team.
See “Mears,” Page 27
As Kirby explained, Mears was the type of player who was a good fit for the team, even if he wasn’t the best at his position. And when selecting a team who has to work together all season, character traits mean a lot.
“There is plenty of times over the years I have kept less talented players over more talented players because it was better for the team,” said Kirby. “Any team and coach will tell you it isn’t always about the talent, a lot of times it’s about chemistry. I’ve never had regrets over the players I’ve kept over the players I’ve released ... and I certainly had no regrets over keeping Lloyd.”
Mears moved to Fort   where he played for the senior men’s team, the Monarchs, as well as coached three teams in the area, including the high school Minors. The gridiron was his home, and for that, the Red Dogs will pay tribute to him on their home field.
“Red Dogs are a family that goes back to 2008,” said Kirby. “We always pushed our players around team chemistry and team bonding. It’s probably the most important thing to have a successful season. We are a family that has been around for eight seasons, so I want these guys to know that.”

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