January 31, 2018

Maxx Forde | Putting the ‘D’ In Defence and Diversity

In a league that prides itself on embracing diversity, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player with a more interesting background than Maxx Forde.

His father, former Lion and 1994 Grey Cup Champion Brian Forde, being born in Montreal, allows the newly re-signed defensive tackle to play as a Canadian.

The younger Forde himself was born in New Orleans and grew up in Seattle. His grandmother and grandfather- Brian’s parents- are of Grenadian and Barbadian descent respectively, while Maxx’s new wife Petra is a native of Hungary.

“I’m trying to get even more cultured because there are a lot of places and points of view I haven’t seen,” Forde said.

“I roomed with Micah Awe last season. Him being born in Nigeria and raised by Nigerian parents, I got to see a little bit of that too. I try to broaden my horizons as much as I can. Getting to know people from different places and see how people live, I really enjoy doing that.”

You can point to football as the main link to his diverse background. Maxx met Petra in Arizona, where he was training for the CFL combine and she was a star water polo player at Arizona State University. The couple tied the knot in December before heading to both Grenada and Barbados for their honeymoon.

“We did Hungary last winter, so this time we figured we’d check out my family’s roots,” he explained.

“It was a great time. We got down there in December and spent about a week in Barbados, did the beaches and just had a good time. Then we went over to Grenada for about ten days. They have a more hilly terrain so we did some hikes and saw some waterfalls. It was good to reset, be active and see the environment.”

Now that Forde has enjoyed the honeymoon time and the ink has dried on his one-year contract extension, it is all about building off a 2017 season where he played all 18 games and saw an increased role in the defensive line rotation. Is he satisfied? Not even close.

“I wouldn’t say (I was) impressed, but it was encouraging to see the growth in my role and what I was able to do with it,” Forde explained.

Along with recording eight defensive tackles, the Idaho Vandals product recorded his first career sack in a July 21st victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“I still believe I have more to give. It’s my goal to keep going to work and keep getting better,” he added.

The addition of both GM Ed Hervey and Director of Player Personnel Torey Hunter was also a big selling point for Forde. He and Hunter have crossed paths before. That serves as yet another reminder of just how small the football world really is.

“Torey was actually on the staff at the University of Idaho for the last two seasons while I was playing. There is a little bit of a relationship with him and that familiarity definitely helps for both of us,” Forde said.

“I understand the kind of guy he is and what he’s looking for. Torey is a straight shooter. He’s not going to BS you or anything like that.”

And Talking to Ed, I got that same kind of feeling with him. I had heard good things about him from other players and just talking to him you can tell he expects a lot out of you but will go to bat for you if you’re going to come in and do the work.”

Along with the usual assortment of new bodies to compete with at training camp, Forde is excited to work under new defensive line coach Randy Melvin, who was with the club as a guest coach in Kamloops in 2017. Having some of that continuity will no doubt make the daily grind more enjoyable and productive.

“He’s very knowledgeable about the game and you can tell he’s been a lifelong student,” Forde said of his new position coach.

“He’s good at passing on that knowledge to his players in a way that it can manifest itself on the field. There were times throughout camp where he would give me a little pointer here and there. I felt like those things helped and the little things are important. If there is anything that can be done to make you better he is going to let you know and give you pointers on how to do it.”

You can tell he can’t wait until veterans report to Hillside Stadium on May 19th. For now, it is the daily workout sessions in Arizona where Petra is still studying for her Master’s Degree. The culture king is picking up the Hungarian language rather nicely. The water polo? Not so much.

“She tried to teach me how water polo players tread water, I think the technique is called ‘egg beating,’” Forde chuckled.

“I can’t really get that down. She says I’m a bad student. For now, that’s on the backburner. Maybe later on in life, I’ll figure that out. Right now I’m just sinking to the bottom.”

Egg beating… Talk about multiple cultures indeed.

 Matt Baker: mbaker@bclions.com