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Woods during a recent radio interview at WTLS

Woods a CFL champion

By Michael Butler

Bear Woods remembers conference championships as a college football player at Troy. He recalls a Little League baseball title as an 11-year-old. Those were big, but this was "epic" in Woods own words.

2017 was Woods first year with the Toronto Argonauts, winners of the Canadian Football League and Grey Cup.

"It's about all the work that was put in, a group of guys," said Woods. "Our team is forever bonded. Toronto went from worst to first."

The story for Woods ending up in Tornoto is interesting in itself.

"(It's) God's plan and I'm a firm believer in Jesus Christ," he exclaimed. "I played six years for Montreal and set the franchise record in tackles last season. I show up for the first year of training camp and get fired by the new general manager."

Even though Woods was without a job just weeks before the season, he did not fret.

"Coming off of my best season ever, I didn't panic. Sure enough I went to the worst team and reunited with a lot of my former teammates and GM and head coach, and we ended up winning the whole thing."

That Little League Championship 20 years ago is still a conversation piece when Woods returns to where he was raised in Macclenny, Fla.

"The buddies of mine who were on the opposing team still say we cheated," he quips. "That's still the trash talk around town."

Nothing compares to the Grey Cup title Woods noted.

"Google the Grey Cup 2017," he said. "When you think Canadian Football, this is what this game was. You couldn't even see because of the snow. To be there, it was incredible."

The Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders 27-24 for the crown. Woods just resigned with the CFL champions last week.

"They can cut you anytime," Woods pointed out. "That's why the signing bonuses are so crucial. When these talking heads say 'he's holding out of training camp, he's not putting the team first,' he's putting his family first. It's business."

At 31, Woods is thinking about his football future.

"I'm going into year nine of professional football," he stated. "I would ideally like to play about three more years. 31 at middle linebacker, that's about the equivalent of about 85 in real life."

And what about after Woods hangs up the helmet?

I would like to stay around the game probably. My degree is in Sports/Fitness Management. I wouldn't be opposed to anything around community sports. I do have a knack for the X's and O's. I would enjoy coaching."

Woods spends a little more than a quarter of the year during the off-season in Alabama. He and his wife Jennifer reside in Wetumpka and attend First Baptist Church in Tallassee, where they have just begun teaching a marriage class for young couples.

"We had a great first class. It's a place where you can relate to other couples. We're hoping to reach out to the community and other young couples."

Woods enjoys his time north of the border, but especially below the Mason/Dixon line.

"It's fun knowing you get to come back home to the South," he said. "If I knew I had to stay there year-round, I couldn't handle it."

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