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Will Arndt has some unfinished business to attend to.
More than two years since he last put on his No. 8 Ottawa REDBLACKS jersey, the many happy memories the retired quarterback has of his time in Canada’s capital are mixed in with a couple not-so-great ones: a 2018 Grey Cup loss and a difficult 2019 campaign. Though a lot has happened since Arndt’s last season in Ottawa – retiring, moving to coaching, contending with a global pandemic, for starters – time has done little to soften the lingering chip on the shoulder of the competitive 28-year-old.
“I wasn’t happy about how things ended – those feelings don’t just go away,” Arndt said recently from his Connecticut home. “To make that wrong a right is something that’s pretty motivating. I’m excited to be coming back. Ottawa’s a great city and I loved living here, loved the fans.”
After what he calls an “extremely difficult” decision to retire as a player, Arndt has been pleased with how he has handled the transition to coaching. Much like what drew him to playing the game for 20 years, he is driven by a new challenge and the fact there is always something to learn. In what was a difficult year for the Edmonton Elks in 2021, Arndt was a popular piece of the coaching staff, which led to several teams inquiring about his availability until he ultimately signed on to work under REDBLACKS Head Coach Paul LaPolice.
“Coach LaPolice reached out as soon as he was able to,” Arndt says of the process that landed him back with the only CFL team he ever played for. “He was the first pro coach I had met back when I was a junior in college, so there was that familiarity, plus the chance to come back to Ottawa where I had played. I’m really looking forward to working with the quarterbacks here.”
That work has already started, with Arndt having already virtually met with the coaching staff with the opening of CFL Free Agency coming up quickly on February 8.
“Now that I have the laptop with the REDBLACKS logo, it feels real,” Arndt says.
Needless to say, RNation is getting a highly motivated Coach Arndt, ready to teach a position he is intimately familiar with.
“I get to help guys do what my mission was for 20 years,” says Arndt.
That mission? Winning, of course.
“The best piece of coaching guidance I’ve been given so far is that great coaches make complex things, simple.
“And simple wins.”