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The Globe and Mail

Anthony Calvillo is tough as nails - so is his Dodge Ram

Anthony Calvillo

Profession: Football player, quarterback for Montreal Alouettes

Age: 38

Hometown: Los Angeles

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Notable achievements:

  • Grey Cup Champion in 2002, 2009, 2010
  • 2002 Grey Cup Most Outstanding Player
  • CFL Most Outstanding Player: 2003, 2008, 2009
  • 2004 Fans' Choice Award: 2004
  • Active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal and Dove Men+Care campaign

Upcoming: Starts his 18th CFL season June 16: Montreal Alouettes exhibition game versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The home opener is June 30 against B.C. Lions

He's one of the top quarterbacks in the Canadian Football League. With three Grey Cup championships under his belt, Montreal Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo is vying for a fourth.

The star quarterback is strong, fast, and tough on the field. So tough in fact, that a December diagnosis of thyroid cancer (he underwent off-season surgery to remove the gland) failed to derail his career.

On the road, his ride - a 2010 Dodge Ram truck - shares the same toughness.

Why did you buy a Ram?

The flexibility and being in Montreal with the 4WD.

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If we have to move some stuff we just throw it in the back of the truck. You have extra room in the back so I can take my kids to school. It's full of car seats. All that came into play.

Trucks are fantastic. To be honest with you, it took me a while to get used to it and park the thing. But now I can park anywhere and not be too worried about it.

We also own a Toyota Sienna minivan as well. My wife doesn't drive the Ram - she drives the minivan.

It's different for the kids in the truck. In the minivan, we have the TV so they enjoy that. When we go in my car there's no movie so it's going to be music.

They love rolling down the windows and just looking outside and listening to their Disney music in my vehicle. They enjoy it.

But the Ram must be a gas-guzzler - wouldn't it make more sense to have an SUV or smaller crossover?

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You would think so and you would be right. But right now I'm driving this and I'm happy with it.

Mechanically, do you know what's under the hood?

I think it's a Hemi. But that's it. I know where to put the windshield wiper fluid in and that's about it.

What does a Ram say about you?

It says I like big trucks. I don't mind paying a little extra for gas. And I'm durable.

Are there any rules in the truck when it comes to the kids?

They have free range in the truck.

They wanted kids' music. I have satellite radio, so they went and bought me kids' CDs so whenever they're in, that's what has to be played. They have a lot of Disney and Cinderella - that's what I play when the kids are in there.

When they're not, I usually listen to satellite radio, rap and R&B stations, but there's no cursing in it.

I live on that station the whole entire time.

Before a game I always listen to traffic first because when we play on a Thursday or Friday night, traffic is always an issue getting downtown and then the music I'll have is on The Heat (satellite radio station) - I'll keep it low; I won't blast it like I usually do.

I don't listen to any music when I'm getting ready for a game. There's no music playing in the locker room - our coach doesn't allow that. If you want to you can put on a headset and listen to music, but I never do.

I concentrate on getting ready for a game - I can't have music pounding in my ears while I'm trying to get ready.

Do you like to drive fast?

No. My kids won't let me.

Every time they hear the engine rev too high they tell me to slow down. My daughter's always sitting in the back. She can see the speedometer and she can tell how fast I'm going.

When I first got it, I'd like to see how fast I could go on an open street, but other than that, I'm not a very fast driver at all.

I've got one speeding ticket - a photo radar one. I got my second one in high school - that's it.

What was your first car?

The first car I purchased was a Toyota 4Runner, back in 1995.

I liked the way it looked. I remember when I was growing up I saw it and thought, 'Man that thing is pretty cool!' I didn't know much about cars, but I started researching it and realized that Toyotas were very good cars.

After that, I had a Ford Expedition. The 4Runner wasn't that gi-normous, but the Expedition was a big leap into a larger SUV type of car.

Who taught you how to drive?

My older brother and one of my cousins. I started driving early. I had my driver's licence when I was 15 in the states. Passed on my first try.

What's your best and worst driving memory?

I've driven to California three times. I love driving and that 3-1/2-day drive to California always stands out in my mind.

It was pre-kids, pre-everything. When I first got to Montreal back in 1998. I've really enjoyed that - driving from Montreal to California and back as well. That was with the Expedition.

My worst would be my one car accident back in high school.

For whatever reason, I made a left turn when I wasn't looking and the oncoming traffic was coming. I got into a little fender bender and luckily the other driver saw me coming and he avoided me, but I clipped him a little bit. It wasn't very serious, but it could have been. It was with my parent's vehicle - it was a green Monte Carlo.

How long do you normally keep your vehicles?

Every three years we try and change it up.

We're thinking of trading in our Toyota Sienna, but we're still brainstorming what we might get - maybe a smaller crossover, SUV type of vehicle with 4WD.

The one thing my wife wanted was a nice, safe vehicle. When we were looking at minivans - Toyota and Honda were at the top of the ratings. The reason we got a Toyota is because they offered 4WD on their vans.

It comes down to whatever car is going to be safest - that's what takes us over the edge. We'll see and evaluate at that time which we choose.

If I can bring you the keys to any car what would it be?

It would be a BMW 7-Series. Oh yeah.

If we hit the lotto, that's the car we're going to get. That's $200,000 right there - it ain't gonna happen.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

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About the Author

Petrina Gentile is an award-winning automotive journalist - one of the few women who cover cars in Canada. Her life revolves around wheels. She has been writing for the Drive section since 2004. Besides auto reviews, she also interviews celebrities like Norman Jewison, Patrick Dempsey, Rick Hansen, Dean McDermott, Russell Peters, and Ron MacLean for her My Car column. More

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