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January 28, 2020

THE COLD CAN’T STOP SALGADO

Calgary temperatures plunged to frigid levels earlier this month.

Meanwhile down in Mexico it was, well, quite a bit warmer.

And yet, there was no regret from Andres Salgado, who has remained in town to continue working on his craft.

“That cold was hard,” said Salgado of the sub -30 temperatures that blanketed the city for more than a week. “Honestly, getting that week out of the conversation, the coldest day I remember was the Winnipeg game. It was really cold. That day I really struggled.

“Last week was worse, just going outside your nose freezes instantly and it’s brutal.

“The weather back home was plus 25, so my grandmother called me and said, ‘What’s going on? I saw the cold wave in Canada, -50 are you still alive?’ I freaked out a little bit when Michael Klukas, who’s Calgary born and raised, said that it was the coldest day of his life and he’s been here for 25 years.”

Despite the frigid weather, the 6-foot-2 receiver is focused on improvement this off-season, so he can be better for his team and teammates in 2020.

“I think staying in Calgary for the off-season was the best thing for my personal interest,” admitted Salgado. “To workout with some of my teammates – Hergy Mayala, Colton Hunchak, Klukas – I’m just trying to get better. I’ve never been through an off-season with a professional team so I only know the workouts I have in Mexico and they were good and they worked for me, but I wanted something different and just to get better.

“It’s better, but it’s completely different. We have all the same exercises in Mexico, but I’ve never really worked with resistance bands and doing deadlifts and power cleans. I did that a bit in my senior year, my last year in Mexico, so for me to keep training that and learning the proper techniques of lifting, it’s been a huge boost for me. I’m feeling stronger, already. I’m trying to get better and I’m running routes all off-season, getting my feet right, getting my distance and my steps, it’s been good.”

With the help of his teammates (and ex-teammate), he’s been putting in his time to watch film, run routes, and achieve personal bests in the weight room.

“Honestly, Nick Arbuckle has been helping me a lot right now,” he said. “He’s helped me through the strength and conditioning program – we’ve been working out since Grey Cup week. He showed me how to watch film and get the proper depth in my routes, not to beat the quarterbacks timing because that screws him up. He’s been helping me out a lot and my fellow receivers are helping a lot, too.

“Being honest with you, my personal record with deadlifts before training here was 365 lb., which was nothing. Today we just hit 585 lb., so we’ve been going crazy. I’m getting stronger, everyone is getting stronger around here. It’s week-in and week-out getting better and better.

“At some point you’re going to hit a limit, you can’t just keep climbing, but I’ve been embracing the grind right now. I think that I have a great work ethic and it’s great to be around people that have the same work ethic that I have and like to compete with each other to make each other better.”

Last year at this time, Salgado was in the midst of his Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional season with the Condors. He would help the team win the championship with a 44-yard touchdown grab just days before making the trip to Calgary for rookie camp.

With differences in the language, routines, culture, and otherwise, it was a tough transition for Salgado, but he admits that the hardest part was getting a grasp on the mammoth playbook presented by Dave Dickenson.

“Trying to learn the playbook at first was the toughest part. Training camp was so much information,” Salgado explained. “I was not used to it – in Mexico we have probably 55 plays and that’s how many plays you get in two or three days here, maybe a single day, with two days of installation.”

Salgado dressed in 15 games last season and did the majority of his work on special teams.

The 28-year old spent the year soaking up as much information as he could from the teams coaching staff and the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

“I learned a lot and I tried to look up to Eric (Rogers), Reggie (Begelton) and KJ (Kamar Jorden) because they’re the top receivers in the game in the CFL,” said Salgado. “Reggie is going to the NFL and he’s one of the best receivers I’ve ever met. So just trying to learn from him and how he takes care of his body and how he goes about his business. Just trying to do the same things and ask them how to do it so that I can become a better football player.

“I got to learn multiple positions and I had never played special teams before, so it was hard to learn where I needed to go. The game is a lot faster, but it’s football at the end of the day. I just want to be better this year, in year two, and show what I can do.”