February 10, 2020

The Offseason So Far

As we head into the 2020 Free Agency period, we wanted to update you on everything that’s happened so far this offseason. The Ottawa REDBLACKS have been busy, so we want to make sure you’re caught up!

Starting Things Off with a Bang

The Ottawa REDBLACKS got a jump on their re-signings, announcing that five key Canadian players had all re-upped during their final game at home.

Headlined by star receiver and former Most Outstanding Canadian Brad Sinopoli, the team also inked Alex Mateas, Brendan Gillanders, JP Bolduc and Nigel Romick to two-year contract extensions.

 

All-Star Honours

Shortly after the end of the regular season, multiple members of the REDBLACKS received all-star nods.

It was announced that both Richie Leone and Nolan MacMillan were named CFL East Division All-Stars.

Later in the month, Richie Leone would also be named to the CFL All-Star Team!

 

New man at the helm

The first month of the REDBLACKS offseason was spent searching for a new Head Coach. They got their guy in 2019 Grey Cup Champion, Paul LaPolice.

It was announced in the evening on December 7th and the REDBLACKS media team headed to the airport to capture the arrival of the new bench boss who brought good vibes to the city wearing his Hakunamatata shirt.

The following day, he was officially introduced at a press conference at TD Place alongside GM Marcel Desjardins, where the two men met the media to answer any questions about Coach Lapo coming on board.

 

Building out the Coaching Staff

Paul LaPolice wasted little time after his arrival. The new bench boss of the REDBLACKS started to round out his coaching staff. His first announcement came less than a week after he was appointed when it was announced that a pair of Bobs would be joining the team in Bob Wylie who brings NFL coaching experience to Ottawa, as well as Bob Dyce who would reprise his role as special teams coordinator.

Coach LaPolice then brought in former BC Lions defensive coordinator and his former colleague at TSN Mike Benevides.

The REDBLACKS have also added the following coaches to its staff for the 2020 CFL season:

  • Alex Suber as Receivers Coach
  • Charlie Eger as Running Backs Coach
  • Greg Knox as Defensive Backs Coach
  • Steve Walsh as Quarterbacks Coach

Locking Up Key Pieces

While the team was busy adding new coaches to its staff for the season ahead, Marcel was busy bringing back key players from the season before.

The first signing came in East Division All-Star Nolan MacMillan. An original REDBLACK, MacMillan has been a vital piece of the O-Line core since 2013.

On the other side of the line, the REDBLACKS extended three important players on its D-Line; Mike Wakefield, Danny Mason, and Avery Ellis all re-upped for the 2020 season. Ellis’ namesake and former college teammate, Avery Williams, also signed an extension. Fans will be excited to have Williams back on the field, as he only dressed for 11 games last season due to injuries. Williams still managed to record 69 defensive tackles.

It was also announced that fan favourite, Sherrod Baltimore, would be back in 2020.

Other players signed include:

  • RJ Harris
  • LP Bourassa
  • Timothy Flanders
  • Justin Howell
  • Anthony Gosselin

QB1 Solidified

The REDBLACKS made who they were targeting to be their new starting QB clear when they traded for the rights to Nick Arbuckle from the Calgary Stampeders. With Arbuckle being a pending Free Agent, this gave Ottawa the exclusive right to speak to the QB and convince both him and his wife that Ottawa should be their new home.

Then, on Friday, January 31 at 4:28pm a tweet went out from the REDBLACKS Twitter announcing that they got their guy.

 

Kickin’ It Up a Notch

A few days after the announcement of Nick Arbuckle the REDBLACKS made another big announcement – re-signing both Lewis Ward and Richie Leone, locking up arguably the best kicking duo in the league for another season.

 

First Official Visit

Wrapping up our offseason update is Nick Arbuckle’s first visit to the Nation’s Capital as a member of the Ottawa REDBLACKS. The QB flew in for a 24 hour media tour that started as soon as he got off the plane and didn’t stop until he got back for his flight home.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The content game never stops 🎥<br><br>We&#39;re recording the whole conversation from the airport to <a href=”https://twitter.com/TD_Place?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@TD_Place</a> to share with you! <a href=”https://t.co/jptyieerOf”>pic.twitter.com/jptyieerOf</a></p>&mdash; Ottawa REDBLACKS (@REDBLACKS) <a href=”https://twitter.com/REDBLACKS/status/1225524325446496262?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 6, 2020</a></blockquote>

Nick even got a chance to meet the media with his first press conference since becoming a starting quarterback.

 

The offseason has been exciting so far but we’re only getting started! Join us for the 2020 CFL season by joining Forever RNation. Click here  for details.