When people look at Patrice Rene, and his story, all of the ups and downs he has gone through, many could question why he didn’t just give up. There were so many opportunities over the span of his football career, and his early life for him to simply turn around and take another path in life, but if he did that, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
Right now he is preparing for his pro day at Rutgers on March 22nd and getting ready to take on the next step in his football career; becoming a professional athlete. He tells Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media, “its really a dream come true.”
“We’re all humans. We all go through ups and downs. I had a lot of tough times. I’ve found myself in a lot of situations where I put in so much work, and it all was almost for nothing because I couldn’t showcase my work. Times got dark, I could have gave up, but I didn’t and my supporting cast has been an amazing part of my journey. They motivate me to stay focused, and I’m blessed to have them (family and close friends) in my life as I continue my journey.”
That journey will now continue through either the CFL or the NFL. After being drafted in the 2021 CFL Draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Rene is already granted an opportunity to play north of the border in the CFL, but with a pro day coming up with Rutgers with NFL scouts in attendance the dream of playing in the NFL is still very much alive for Patrice Rene, and that dream was awakened in Ottawa by Victor Tedondo of Gridiron Academy while he was in high school.
Rene was born in Haiti and moved to Ottawa at 3 years old where he lived in a small apartment building off of Merivale Road. He then lived in Lower-town Ottawa as well where he was introduced to the game of football and other sports but was only able to capitalize on the game of football when he and his family moved to Orleans. He capitalized on his opportunities within the game when he met Victor Tedondo, who at the time was just getting started with Gridiron Academy, helping players train for football and setting players up with opportunities to take their next steps in football in both high school and university. “Vic really opened my eyes to the opportunities I could have in football.” he said, “he told me about the doors that could open for me through football too. How if I worked hard I could get a full scholarship for school, and maybe be a pro athlete. After going to some camps, and then going through that process that he told me about, going to Virginia for high school and balling out there I had a recruiting process which was amazing. I felt wanted by programs, and I enjoyed it. I’m blessed to have had those opportunities, and ending up going to UNC (University of North Carolina) after that process, it was like I was living in a movie, like all of those things you see on T.V about college and football, I was there.”
While at North Carolina, after attending Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, Patrice Rene stood out as a defensive back. He made 103 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 14 pass deflections and forced 4 turnovers in 45 games played. During that time at Chapel Hill though, he did have some adversity. In 2019 he suffered a torn ACL. He ended up coming back and played in the shortened 2020 season with UNC, but missed out on a large part of his junior season because of that injury and coming off of a sophomore season where he had 2 interceptions it looked to be his year to shine. Following the senior season at UNC, where he made 28 tackles, 2 for loss, deflected 4 passes and forced a fumble he graduated at Chapel Hill and was a grad transfer to Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he unfortunately suffered a rare hip injury during camp, going against the team’s top receiver Bo Melton who is looked at to be a top NFL Draft prospect in this years NFL Draft. The hip injury didn’t take Rene out of the entire 2021 season with the Scarlet Knights, however he was limited to just 5 games where he made a total 5 tackles. The games he started during that time though were against top competition, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State were some of his opponents while on the field, big rivals for Rutgers in the BIG 10.
When talking about the last few years, at North Carolina and Rutgers, Rene told Zlomislic, “Obviously, I didn’t plan on getting hurt. At UNC, and at Rutgers, but it happened, and I believe everything happens for a reason. It was tough, putting in all of this work and having nothing to really show the people around me. I felt bad about it because of the situations I was in, but I was still able to fight through it all, and I’m grateful to be in the spot I’m in right now, training for my pro day and getting ready for what’s next.” What’s next for Patrice Rene, as mentioned will be the Rutgers pro day on March 22nd, and right now, training in Buffalo, doing one on one combine training he is preparing for what is ahead of him and is getting ready to show NFL scouts what he’s all about.
It’s an uncommon journey, having made his way from Haiti originally to Ottawa, then from Ottawa to Virginia, Virginia to North Carolina and North Carolina to Rutgers, but everything is now piecing together for Rene, including his life after football.
Right now he is pretty well guaranteed a spot as a professional athlete in 2022, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL or somewhere in the NFL depending on how he performs at his pro day on the 22nd, but Patrice Rene understands that football is not forever. The average football career lasts two years. In the CFL, if that is the route he takes, two years of the rookie salary would bring him to just over $120,000 in career earnings. It isn’t enough to ride home about, and many CFL players find themselves looking at a second job during, and after their playing careers but for Rene he already has his plan set up. “I didn’t take school that seriously at UNC at first but when I got hurt, I woke up in a sense of where I was, getting a great education at one of the best schools in America, and getting it for free, so I started taking advantage of the opportunity I had in front of me and I looked more at what my interests are off of the field and now I’m in a good position for what I want to do after football, and I’m even doing it now during football.”
Rene is ready to enter the sports marketing industry, and with everything he has learnt on and off of the football field through his journey, he will be a big name in the industry very soon. Stay tuned for more regarding Rene, his journey to the pros and his future outside of football through JZ Media, the media source FOR THE ATHLETE.