In 2019 we got our first looks at DeVonte Dedmon as a kickoff and punt returner. He returned a kickoff return for a touchdown in his first CFL pre-season game and returned two kicks for touchdowns in just his second of five regular season games in the 2019 CFL season in Montreal against the Alouettes. After finishing the five regular season games in 2019 prior to suffering injuries with 945 all-purpose yards on 43 touches, averaging 22 yards each time he touched the ball over the span of 5 regular season games he felt like he was ready to take on a larger role.
During the off-season he did an interview with myself and talked about how he doesn’t want to be a “one trick pony.” He said, “I know I can do a lot more than just return kicks and even though I can make a huge impact doing exactly that I have been grinding a lot this off-season to make an impact on offence too and I can be a difference maker in our offence.” And being a difference maker is exactly what he has been.
There is only two games to show for it and just one of offensive production but in a short span of time Dedmon has proven to be much more than a one trick pony, only returning kicks. In the return game though, he has brought a huge bright spot and spark to the team, providing the offence with great field position nearly every time he touches the ball, now having generated 257 yards on 19 kickoff and punt returns. He has a long 26 yard punt return thus far to pair with what he was able to do on the offensive side of the ball in Saskatchewan in the Redblacks’ week 3 matchup against the Roughriders. Following Timothy Flanders’ injury late in the first half of the Redblacks and Roughriders game in week 3 the Ottawa Redblacks had Dedmon taking handoffs in the backfield from Matt Nichols and Dominique Davis. He ran the ball 5 times for 31 yards and one touchdown and caught it once for 9 yards, combining for 40 yards and a touchdown on just 6 offensive touches. Bringing a spark to the offence each time he had his hands on the football the Redblacks should look to continue to feed DeVonte Dedmon moving forward and if they do so we know DeVonte will take the opportunities and run with them, like he’s been doing since the start of his career. At Tuesday’s practice where he also was found taking handoffs alongside running back Justin Davis as Timothy Flanders remains out of the picture Dedmon said, “Whatever the coaches want me to play, I’ll play it. I’m just one of those guys where I just do my job and thats it.”
As we get closer to Saturday’s home opener at TD Place the Ottawa Redblacks should have their injury report finalized and it will be clear who is and who isn’t playing, however right now as we stand mid week, following both Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices it looks like that job that DeVonte Dedmon has this week could be fairly large. Running back Timothy Flanders remains out of the picture, making it just him and Justin Davis at running back and receivers RJ Harris, Jordan Smallwood and Anthony Coombs have been found on the injury report, making ways for him in the pass game so if the players mentioned are indeed out of the lineup on Saturday against the B.C Lions it can be a busy day for Dedmon. He may be found on special teams, in the return game, run game and pass game throughout the game, all in front of the Redblacks fanbase at TD Place. For the first time since November 1st of 2019 the stadium at TD Place will have fans in the stands. Close to 15,000 members of R-Nation will be in attendance and DeVonte Dedmon is one of many players excited to have the opportunity to play in front of them once again. “Its been awhile.” he said, “Anytime I’m on the field I’m trying to make a play, bring some excitement, whether that be receiver, running back, kick returner, punt returner, I’m just going to do what they need me to do and bring some joy to the fans.” The game on Saturday will be the Redblacks’ third of the season as they look to bounce back from their first loss of their young 1-1 season for the 2021 CFL season and it should be a much better game on all aspects from the two we have seen from the team already this season. Redblacks players are all in sync with each other and have created a bond over the past three weeks in preparation for the next 12 games of the season, beginning with their home opener which you can buy your tickets for now at ottawaredblacks.com.