February 9, 2023

Original REDBLACK Antoine Pruneau announces retirement

Original Ottawa REDBLACK Antoine Pruneau is calling it a career, today, announcing his retirement after a decorated eight-season CFL career.

“Antoine Pruneau is synonymous with REDBLACKS football,” said Head Coach Bob Dyce. “The passion he brought to the field was unmatched. He took great pride in wearing the “R” and it was evident in his leadership and play. I know he will bring the same energy to the next chapter of his career. We thank him and wish he and his family nothing but the best.”

A product of Laval, Québec, Pruneau played his collegiate football at the University of Montreal, before being drafted fourth overall by the REDBLACKS in 2014. His rookie campaign saw him record 79 total tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble, earning CFL Rookie of the Month honours for October. He helped the REDBLACKS to Grey Cup appearances in 2015, and 2018, as well as their first championship victory in 2016.

“Antoine Pruneau has shown remarkable leadership and dedication to this organization which will be tough to replace,” said REDBLACKS General Manager Shawn Burke. “We congratulate him on a job well done, a great career and wish him all the best in what comes next. He will always be a REDBLACK.”

The 33-year-old Pruneau ends his CFL career as the REDBLACKS’ all-time leader in games played (122), and total tackles (448), to go with 10 interceptions, four sacks, and four forced fumbles.

“Antoine personifies what it means to be a REDBLACK,” said OSEG CEO Mark Goudie. “He left everything he had on the field, played through broken bones and helped bring a Grey Cup back to this city. But his contributions extended far beyond his play; he has been a leader in the community, the self-proclaimed leader of the French Mafia and a key piece in ushering along the next era of talented REDBLACKS players. Thank you, Antoine, on behalf of the REDBLACKS, OSEG and everyone who loves this game in Ottawa.”

Away from the field, Pruneau long ago cemented his status as a fan favourite in the community. From working with local university football players, to guest coaching youth football, and acting as an all-around ambassador for the team in the Ottawa-Gatineau community, Pruneau’s impact will remain an unforgettable part of REDBLACKS history.

A statement from Antoine Pruneau:

I had the best job in the world and I will forever be grateful to the people that accompanied me during this journey!

To RNation: Thank you for your unconditional support throughout my career. Through the great moments and the tougher ones, you were incredible towards me and I will never forget this moment spent at your side.

To my coaches: Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for the countless hours. Mostly, thank you for all the conversations that led me to be a better man. You were all great mentors!

To my teammates: Thank you for being so inspirational. I am going to miss our time on the field but I’ll miss the time away from the game with you all even more. FrenchMafia! Thank you for all the fun, all the jokes, all the wild times. Details on a succession plan to come.

To my family and friends: I truly believe that I am surrounded by the best people. You have been by my side from the very beginning and the influence you have had on me has allowed me to live my dream for nine beautiful years. I love you.