This off-season has been extremely long for a number of CFL players. Some hadn’t played since the league closed its 2019 season in November of 2019, some haven’t played in over two years due to injuries and cancelled seasons and then there are a group of players that have played in different leagues since November of 2019. For wide receiver Jalen Tolliver who had been signed by the Edmonton Elks this off-season his only football action recently came during the XFL season in 2020. In the XFL Tolliver played 5 games, leading the Tampa Bay Vipers in receiving with 21 catches for 297 yards and a touchdown but since the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the league to pause its operations in March of 2020 he hasn’t played a real football game. “It was tough to have the season shut down.” he said, “I was having some success and really getting back into it but over the year off I’ve learnt a lot. It’s been a grind on and off of the field.”
On the football field, the Arkansas-Monticello product has been aiming to get better and get back to the player he was when he was granted the opportunity to play in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. Doing so he has been consistently working on his techniques at the wide receiver position and has been able to put the techniques to work against defensive backs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas with Craig LeBlanc’s 2 Live Late Night Crew. Over the off-season LeBlanc, who coaches quarterbacks and other skill position players of all levels in the Dallas, Texas area had put on sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, continuing those sessions until players are busy with their teams. The 2 Live Late Night Crew sessions give athletes of any position, mostly quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs the opportunity to put what they have learnt and worked on with other coaches into game scenarios. For Tolliver it has been a big help during the off-season to get back into game ready shape and be ready to take on the CFL’s defensive backs as he enters training camp this week. “It was everything that I needed.” Toliver told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “I’m thankful for Craig and them that put the sessions on. 2 Live had lots of great runs and we all got better. I am looking forward to the opportunity I have in Edmonton to show that I can still ball because the game means the world to me.”
Off of the football field, leading up to the call he received by the Edmonton Elks informing him that he’s been signed by the team and that he’s suppose to report for training camp in July Jalen Tolliver has been staying busy. He started working at foot locker over the pandemic which was then followed by a job he got at a local high school in the Dallas area where he served as a creative recovery teacher. He says, “I want to get into teaching in the future to be able to teach the younger generation and to give them what I didn’t get at that age.” With just a few hours left in his course at Arkansas-Monticello he looks forward to a career in teaching after he gets his degree and is done his playing career.
Tolliver kicks off his first ever CFL training camp this week and will battle for a spot on the Edmonton Elks roster as a 6-foot-3, big body receiver. If he does make the roster he will play his very first game on August 7th when he and the Elks would host the Ottawa Redblacks. On the Ottawa Redblacks is linebacker Denzel Johnson and receiver Jordan Smallwood who like Tolliver attended a few of Craig LeBlanc’s 2 Live Late Night Crew sessions over the off-season.