Collin Klein turned CFL scouts' heads last month at a Montreal Alouettes minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla.
Rogerio Barbosa – Courtesy Montreal Alouettes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Plan B?
What Plan B?
"You try to set up kind of a rough window or idea," former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein says, chuckling, "but this business is just so fluid.
"It’s kind of hard to set a firm, ‘OK, this is the day I’ve got to move on (date).’ You can’t totally do that. You’ve just got to kind of do the best you can and kind of be prepared to make a last-second audible if things don’t work."
Fortunately, this one seems to be working. After more than a year away from professional football, Klein, 24, begins training camp with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes on Sunday morning in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The Colorado native signed a two-year deal, officially, on May 16.
"With me, it’s one of the things where I’m just trying to compete, do the very best I can, and contribute to the team," Klein tells FOXSportsKansasCity.com. "(Whether) that lands me as the starter, or working toward that … it’s about being the best that I can be for the Alouettes."
That means playing quarterback — not tight end, not special teams — north of the border. The former Wildcat is expected to be part of a healthy competition under center during the preseason. The Alouettes feature several former NCAA signal-callers on the roster, including Klein, Troy Smith (Ohio State) and Alex Brink (Washington State). Smith made four starts for Montreal in the second half of last season, one of them in the playoffs.
More important for Klein, the CFL is another chance to prove he can cut it at the next level, despite concerns from scouts about his unorthodox throwing mechanics. After Klein went undrafted despite a stellar 2012 senior season at K-State (2,641 passing yards, 920 rushing yards), he resisted overtures to switch to another position in the NFL, even though he began his collegiate career as a receiver.
The 6-foot-4 quarterback turned heads with CFL scouts at the Alouettes’ minicamp last month in Vero Beach, Fla. It was there that he also got a chance to hook up with another, more high-profile Montreal signee — former Pro Bowl wideout Chad Johnson.
"No question, he’s very gifted," Klein says of the former "Ocho Cinco." "And seeing him down at minicamps, he’s worked very hard.
"I hadn’t really seen him before, or gotten to work with him. But it was a good opportunity. I threw him a couple balls."
"I mean, it was good. We were both trying to work on getting schemes down and running the offense. And for both of us, it was like that."
Instead of grad school, coaching, teaching or even preaching, Klein — who was invited to join the Houston Texans in the spring of 2013 and let go shortly thereafter — is hoping to follow the footsteps of Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia as American signal-callers who cut their teeth in the Great White North before finding their feet in the NFL.
"They can pretty much, from what I understand, get rid of me at any time," he says. "It is a contract, so it’s not a tryout. But every day is a tryout in professional football."
And for the time being, at least, Plan B can wait.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.