Abdul Kanneh says, “dreads will be flying” in the Ottawa Redblacks secondary this CFL season

Abdul Kanneh signs back to the Redblacks through 2020

Just over a week ago, the Ottawa Redblacks entered CFL free agency and made a splash, signing a few big names on the defensive side of the ball. Of the moves made on day one, Marcel made sure to bring back some key components from past years. From the 2016 team, both Abdul Kanneh and Cleyon Laing were signed back to Ottawa. Many of you may remember Kanneh more than Laing from 2016, and that is expected as Kanneh was one of the loudest defensive backs in the CFL when he started his career in Ottawa and will show this year that he still has the juice.

Ottawa Redblacks DB Abdul Kanneh during practice at TD Place on Tuesday June 21, 2016. Errol McGihon

Kanneh has been known to be flying all over the field since he first entered the league in 2014 with the Redblacks, and played three seasons. When asked about his first stint in Ottawa, Kanneh mentions in, “My time in Ottawa was great. From the fans, to just going into the games walking to the stadium taking in the atmosphere, I loved every bit of it and all of those years we were very well built, and we could compete and beat anybody so that helped me enjoy that winning feeling even more.”

Like Abdul Kanneh mentioned in his quote, the teams he was able to play with in Ottawa got to embrace the winning feeling a lot as he got the chance to play in 2 Grey Cups, winning one and being a big piece to the 2016 Grey Cup victory in a game saving tackle. The Grey Cup in 2016 was magical as many players have expressed, and Kanneh sticks to that, “The experience (winning the Grey Cup) was great. The team we had that year (2016) was the best (I’ve been a part of) and we were all one. We had a brotherhood. A lot of teams say that they have that, but the whole season we had each others backs and when they counted us out, we stopped listening and added fuel to our fire. The team was built off love and energy and it was awesome to see.”

The group that the Ottawa Redblacks were built around in 2016 had one of the best secondaries ever to play in the CFL all on the same team. 3 of the team’s defensive backs went on for NFL opportunities after the Grey Cup and that shows just how good the team was, but Kanneh will be a part of a similar system come June when he plays in plaid again. The Ottawa Redblacks defensive backfield has always been great and in 2020, the backfield will be firing on all cylinders. Kanneh says, “I’m super excited to play with the group in Ottawa, mostly because of the competition it will bring. The groups I’ve been a part of in the past (in Ottawa), all we did was compete with each other and we made sure that competition kept going during games so the teams got the best of us. So with that being said, I’m looking forward to the competition with the boys, the guys all together, making our own thing and making a good product.”

Abdul Kanneh shows to be hungry for the competition in Ottawa, and a competition in what he’ll get, and he’s going to get it from a friend on the secondary in Sherrod Baltimore. Through the past few years, Kanneh and Baltimore have built a relationship, Kanneh explains, “Sherrod is my guy! When he first got to Ottawa we met, just before training camp and we exchanged numbers. When he first caught my eye was,he played with my other good friend Jerrell Gavins and after practices and games he used to call me telling me how Sherrod was balling out and how he’s just like me, he’s good and that he’s a baller. Ever since then, we called here and there giving each other congratulations on everything we’re accomplishing on our own and blessing each other up being thankful for our talent.”

Of course this relationship between the two defensive backs started off the field, but this year, they have the chance to play together in Ottawa and Kanneh quotes in, “He only lives like 20-25 minutes away from me in the off-season, he lives in DC (Washington) and I live in Virginia so we’ve met up a few times, got to meet the family and we’ve been tight off the field and now with the opportunity to play with him as well is exciting!” He also puts in, “This season is going to be ecstatic out there! We both can fly, and so can our dreads, I can’t wait anymore to put together some great things on the field.”

To pair with Baltimore, Kanneh mentions that he’s also kept close with defensive back Antoine Pruneau who he was able to share his rookie season with back in 2014 and win a Grey Cup with in 2016. He mentions in “Pru (Antoine Pruneau) is my boy! He is one of those OG soldiers on the defense there in Ottawa. He always goes hard, tough, reliable, man you can’t ask for anything better than him. He’s proven that he can do it all in this league and he can do anything you ask him to. I’m looking real forward to being on his team once again.”

The seasons that Kanneh had spent, all three were a part of the same coaching staff with Campbell leading the pack along with Mark Nelson coaching the defense, but when he comes in May for camp, he’s going into a new coaching staff led by Paul LaPolice. When asked about the staff brought in Kanneh points out, “For one all, our offensive coach has a crazy nice system. When ever I played against it, we could never really study for it, so practicing against it will give us the best challenge and playing with it will give us a great advantage, but on all sides of the ball, our defense is going to mix some stuff up and make it spicy on the field. I’m excited to meet with these guys and play for them in general.

Not only will Kanneh have the change of coaching staff, but so will the fans. And Kanneh explains that the fans won’t have to worry about the coaching as long as he’s on the field saying, “The fans can expect some tough, hard nose football from me. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to play at this level so I’m going to put it all on the field making plays for the team.”

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