July 25, 2007

Mackey lives through football roller coaster

By Jared Book,

Montreal – You can forgive the Montreal Alouettes newest linebacker if he skipped the introductions. That’s because Louis Mackey has played for this team before. In fact, he made 16 tackles last season in ten games in regular season and played and recorded a tackle in the team’s loss to the B.C. Lions in the 2006 Grey Cup.

In fact, he was even a member of the team as recently as just a few weeks ago, having been on the practice roster before being released when injured starters began to return.

On Saturday, with the Alouettes hit hard with injuries, Mackey got the call at his home in Beaumont, TX, to come back to Montreal. In practice on Tuesday, he was taking reps with the first team as regular starter Kai Ellis is expected to miss Thursday’s game against the Toronto Argonauts.

“(When I got the call) I was shocked,” Mackey said. “I didn’t know if I was going to play football again, but I was ready to go. I had rested my body and kept training.”

Up, down, and back around
This is just the most recent high in a career of ups and downs. His professional career started with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys following a successful four years at Akron University in the NCAA.

He played in 16 games 2000 and 2001 with the Cowboys, with his biggest contributions coming in 2001 when he recorded nine tackles and recovered one fumble in 15 games.

After leaving the Cowboys, Mackey was out of football and worked as a substitute teacher with the Beaumont Independent School District for three years before attending a try-out camp in Dallas.

“After the camp, (former Alouettes scout Brock Sunderland) said that he was impressed with my performance and wanted to bring me to training camp with Montreal,” Mackey said. “I was all for it and was ready to go.”

That led to his rookie season last year, where he also recorded a quarterback sack with the Alouettes splitting time at middle linebacker with Dwayne Taylor. This year, he attended camp in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu before spending time on the Alouettes’ practice roster and eventually being released.

Despite the highs and lows that Mackey has experienced, he acknowledges that it is all part of the game.

“Football is full of ups and downs but you have to persevere through things,” he said. “I was ready to come back if somebody called. I wasn’t worried about it and was ready to perform whenever I got on the field again.”