During this extended CFL off-season the Ottawa Redblacks have faced numerous changes to the offensive side of the ball. They have lost a number of their starting skill position players from the 2019 season in Brad Sinopoli, Dominique Rhymes and John Crockett but losing these players have given them the opportunity to replace them and replace them with younger talent. A lot of the skill players brought in to fill in the spots of the departing 2019 starters are Canadians. Players like Nate Behar, Daniel Petermann and Anthony Coombs have been signed with Michael Klukas, another Canadian with a very high ceiling coming into the 2021 CFL season.
Klukas played with the Calgary Dinos until being signed by the CFL’s Stampeders. He was signed in the 2018 CFL off-season where he eventually spent a full 2019 season on the Calgary Stampeders practice roster before getting his first game action in 2019. Over the span of the 2019 CFL season, as a part of the Stampeders talented receiving core headlining Reggie Begelton, Kamar Jorden, Eric Rogers, Markeith Ambles and Hergy Mayala Klukas played in 13 games recording a total 16 catches for 169 yards. Averaging over 10 yards per reception he caught a long 31 yard pass in Calgary’s week 10 matchup against the Alouettes as well as a 27 yard sideline catch versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders in week 4 where he had a season high 68 receiving yards on 4 catches. He also added 29 rushing yards on 3 attempts in the 2019 season, rounding his season totals on offence to 19 touches for 198 scrimmage yards.
The Canadian pass catcher found himself running a 4.36 40 yard dash earlier this off-season making his speed very valuable to the Redblacks’ offence that already has speedsters in Akeem Hunt, Brendan Gillanders, DeVonte Dedmon, Ryan Davis, Rafael Araujo-Lopes, Marvelle Ross and more. He said in an interview with Jordan Zlomislic, “I’ve got some speed to bring to the offence and hands but really I’m ready to bring whatever they need from me.” explaining more, “They’ve already got a good group of receivers and I’m excited to compliment them in the offence and learn from them while helping the team out.”
This opportunity to help out the Ottawa Redblacks offence came to Michael Klukas following a full year and a half off-season which began last November, finally ending on July 10th when he and his teammates report for CFL training camp. Some things that he’s the most excited about for the first few games back in the CFL with the new look Redblacks, the fans. “I was once a kid with aspirations of playing in the CFL.” he said, “I remember being that kid meeting Stampeders players at my school and stuff and I can’t wait to meet the fans in Ottawa. I’m really excited to experience the game day atmosphere at TD Place as a part of the home team.”
Klukas will travel to his home province of Alberta to face the Edmonton Elks to open the 2021 CFL season on August 7th with the Ottawa Redblacks, marking 21 months since his last CFL game that he played against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in October of 2019 as a part of the Stampeders. He and the Redblacks receiving core have a lot to prove following the departures this off-season and R-Nation should be just as excited as Klukas to see these hungry playmakers at work come August 7th.