January 16, 2013

Simpson has much to be proud of

It’s been an eventful off-season for Stampeders middle linebacker Juwan Simpson.

For one thing, his alma mater — the Alabama Crimson Tide — clinched its third college football national championship in four years earlier this month with a resounding victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“It’s great to be a part of a great dynasty,” Simpson says with a smile.

Anyone who knows the verbose linebacker is fully aware that the Tide’s recent dominance of the college football ranks just may come up in locker-room conversations when the team gets back together for training camp in June.

“Well, they’ve been tired of hearing me talk about it for the past four years,” he chuckled. “But it’s only going to increase and get worse. I told myself I would probably wear Alabama gear every day to work next year. It only gets better from here.

“Until we drop out of the top 10, which I don’t suspect will happen in the next five to 10 years, I’ll keep talking. If you drop out of the top 10, you’ve got 10 teams that are better than you. But if you’re a top team, nobody is willing to say much to you — especially if you’re No. 1 and winning championships.”

While seeing his old school pick up another national title was wonderful, the Tide’s success is only the second-largest source of pride for Simpson this off-season. That’s because he’s in basking in his role as a new father.

On Nov. 25, Simpson and fiancée Alena Thomas welcomed daughter Laila Michelle into the world.

“It’s going great, man,” said Simpson. “Some nights, I don’t get as much sleep as others, but it’s an awesome feeling to wake up and see my little girl every day. I’m enjoying it and I’m embracing it.

“To be a good father, you have to be there for them every instant. That’s what my parents did for me, so that’s the only way I know. It’s so worth it.”

In addition to his parental responsibilities, Simpson has picked up the pace of his workouts as he gets ready for the 2013 season.

“Last year, we had a good year but we finished a little bit short,” he said. “I’m excited about this season. Everything that has happened in my life in the past year has been overwhelming. It’s been such a great experience the past year and hopefully 2013 is just as good as 2012 was.”

With just one more late-November victory tacked on, of course.