June 27, 2024

Jonathan Rose retiring a REDBLACK

Jonathan Rose made a football career out of beating the odds, ultimately earning himself a special place in Ottawa REDBLACKS history, and in the hearts of fans around the region.

In a brief meeting with Head Coach Bob Dyce this week, Rose reiterated his appreciation for the man who provided him an opportunity, first on special teams, but Dyce reminded him that an opportunity is only worth however much you can prove with it.

Beginning in 2016, Rose worked his way onto the starting defence, where he remained until 2019, in which time, he recorded all nine of his career interceptions. His first season culminated in a Grey Cup win, a familiar – but nonetheless incredible – feeling.

“Once you have a taste of success, you’re chasing that feeling,” Rose said. “That ring in 2016 – especially being the first championship in REDBLACKS history – means so much to me. It’s the capacity in which it came, and that moment remains untouched. It holds such a significant place in my heart.”

Rose was a fixture in the secondary until early in the 2019 campaign, when he suffered a neck injury that left him in a brace for nearly 25 months. Doctors told him he shouldn’t play again, fearful of the physical nature of the game in regards to his health, but Rose was determined to prove them wrong, and in 2021, he made a return with the Edmonton Elks.

His love for the game hadn’t dwindled, but he decided against playing in 2022, stepping away and shifting his focus to other things, including his family, which he plans to start with his wife, whom he married just a handful of months ago.

“I chased my dream, but I stopped it prematurely for the greater good of my life,” Rose said. “I want my [future] kids to embrace whatever they choose to embark on, but I want them to understand that if it’s going to hinder them going forward, don’t sacrifice life. Life is way too important.”

In just four short seasons, Rose made an impact on the Ottawa dressing room not too many others could. REDBLACKS’ defensive back Sherrod Baltimore became very close with Rose in short order, just one of the many great friendships he made that will last a lifetime.

“JRose is a friend for life, I’m so happy to have met him,” Baltimore said. “That’s a man of morals and respect. That was my roommate at my first house in Ottawa, I had never lived with anyone else over the years until I moved on out my own. We saw each other grow on and off the field.”

Baltimore might be the most notable, but it goes far beyond just one person.

“I’ve got a band of brothers here, Sherrod Baltimore, Cleyon Laing, Dominique Rhymes, and all the other guys I have met along the way,” Rose said. “That’s the thing I miss about the game. I’m happy to be retiring, but I miss that brotherhood and the feeling of going to war with the guys; the training, the preparation, and being invested in one another.”

Like so many others, the CFL offered Rose an opportunity to play professional football other options didn’t present themselves. Knowing very little about the league, he came north not knowing what to expect, but now, he leaves as someone who will be thankful for the league for the rest of his life.

“I’m a kid from Alabama who didn’t know if he was going to go pro,” Rose said. “I always thought the NFL was the priority, but coming to the CFL may be the best thing I have ever done.”

“Coming up here and trying to be my best was hard, because I had to learn a whole new system that wasn’t part of my culture,” Rose said. “But I got NFL looks that I never would have gotten if I didn’t come here and expand on my game, and for that, I have a new-found love for the league, and I’ll forever be an ambassador for the CFL.”

With his one-day contract in hand, Rose closes the book on one part of his life, excited to start the next, but beyond appreciative of everyone in the organization who helped make everything possible.

“It’s a full circle moment,” Rose said. “I wanted to play all of my years here, and I did that except for my last year. Even then, I still had a piece of Ottawa in my heart, and when we played them in the first game of the season, it was bittersweet. To come around and end my career where I was most successful and happy [is special].”