Perhaps one could say it was meant to be.
A former NFL defensive back signs a deal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders – his children’s names? Ryder and Jade.
Even Will Blackmon marvelled at the coincidence when he talked to reporters on Friday afternoon, just two days ahead of his first start for the green and white.
It’s an opportunity Blackmon earned through hard work and persistence, according to Head Coach Chris Jones.
Of course, the talent is there too.
“He’s a guy that came here about five-six weeks ago and he’s been working on the (practice roster) and putting enough work in after practice one-on-ones,” Jones said.
“He’s a tremendous student of the game.”
He would have to be after all he’s been through and been able to survive.
Blackmon has had nine surgeries throughout his football career, he’s played for five NFL teams and he lost his mom at six years old.
Look on his Twitter account and the first word of his bio is “resilient”.
“Because there’s nothing I can’t handle,” Blackmon said. “I believe I’ve been through every situation. I’ve been cut, I’ve been injured, I’ve had so many surgeries. I dealt with political stuff, I haven’t played in a year, so I feel like at the end of the day when it gets difficult … that’s when I rise up.”
His latest rise, of course, was up the Riders depth chart. He’ll seemingly play in place of either Jovon Johnson or Crezdon Butler against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a game treasured each year by the fanbase: the Labour Day Classic.
“I look forward to it,” Blackmon said about having his first game be in the pressure cooker of the Labour Day Classic. “I love it when it’s difficult, I love when it’s energetic, so for my first game to be the Labour Day game, that’s for me – I’m a ham.”
But he doesn’t take anything for granted. Despite a lengthy NFL career that had him matched up with top receivers like Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon he knows the CFL has players just as talented.
“A lot of people have the idea that the CFL is lesser talent … but they do everything that they do in the NFL, so I’m not up here looking at it like I’m going to take over and destroy because I came from the NFL. No, there are some good extremely talented players up here that I highly respect.”
“I’m just excited, I’m just excited to play with this group,” Blackmon added. “Just happy to be a part of it.”