“I’m going to have one of the best games of my life.” Bailey and Baltimore create excitement around Thursday’s game

The Ottawa Redblacks are 6-31 since the 2018 Grey Cup.

In the 2018 Grey Cup against the Calgary Stampeders it was Trevor Harris under centre for the Ottawa Redblacks.

On Thursday, while on their way to flip their 2022 CFL season, the Ottawa Redblacks get the opportunity to play against Trevor Harris and the Montreal Alouettes.

Under centre for the Ottawa Redblacks will be 24 year old Caleb Evans in place of the injured Jeremiah Masoli, and making his first start of the season, Evans has the trust of his players, including defensive back Sherrod Baltimore who said the following about the Redblacks position right now in the 2022 CFL season: “Our record stinks but but we don’t see that every day. We come to practice every day, we compete every day, and we stay focused. I feel if we keep competing and do a little more we will get the outcome we want. Its still early, I’m not going to say its too early because we want to win, and its sucked to keep losing and we’re going to do what we can to win. We’re going to keep getting better, and gonna get better every week.”

Sherrod Baltimore was also a part of that 2018 Ottawa Redblacks team with Trevor Harris, and actually had an interception to his name that game, something you may see once again on Thursday night against Harris and the Alouettes.

As for Thursday’s game against the Alouettes, in his interview with Jordan Zlomislic, Baltimore explained, “You can expect me to show out and play hard.” and requested something from R-Nation, “I’m going to need the fans behind me, behind us, I need everyone to come out to TD Place and be loud and just be crazy and we’re going to get that win for R-Nation.”

Lined up at cornerback as well, with Sherrod Baltimore, on the other side of the field this week is Hakeem Bailey.

Bailey has been in the lineup for the past two games and has made some big plays for the Redblacks defence already. He was a part of a couple of plays against the Roughriders in Saskatchewan for his CFL debut, but really made a splash last week in Hamilton, having made 5 tackles and what looked to be a game sealing interception.

After being away from the game of football, having not played a game of football since his time at West Virginia the Georgia native was thankful for the opportunity he got in the nation’s capital and is running with it. He explains it as, “the process of staying down and coming up.” saying, “when an opportunity comes you have to take full advantage of it and I was just blessed to go out there and make those plays again, make plays for my team and I’m excited to build off of that going into this weeks game.”

As mentioned previously, this week’s game for the Redblacks comes this Thursday against the Montreal Alouettes at TD Place. During the pre-season, in his only pre-season game, Hakeem Bailey played against the Montreal Alouettes and proved himself to the Redblacks as a ball hawk, having made two interceptions in the game. With him going up against the same team that he’s already had success going up against, Redblacks fans should be excited to watch Bailey perform Thursday night, really, they should be as excited as he is to be in front of the Redblacks fans.

Thursday will mark his first home game with the Redblacks and he is excited. Excited might be an understatement. “I’m going to have one of the best games of my life this week.” he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “just because I’ll have our fans behind us. It’s my first game playing at home, I know they are loud after watching the first couple games from the sideline, and it’ll be good to hear them cheer me on because right now I’ve heard boos when I make a play on the road, it will be good to have the fans cheer us on it’s going to add to the excitement and I can’t wait to make plays for them.”

The Redblacks and Alouettes will kick off at 7:00 on Thursday, be sure to tune in or be at TD Place to watch Baltimore and Bailey take on Trevor Harris and his Alouettes teammates.

Un-Breaux-Ken, A Delvin Breaux Story

Delvin Breaux.

A name that resonates with many across the football world. A name known internationally, and a name with a very special story behind it.

The story of Delvin Breaux has been told by many to many over the years, but nobody tells his story better than himself.

On December 9th 2020 Breaux told his story his own way and wrote the book, “Un-Breaux-Ken”. The book tells the story of the New Orleans, Louisiana native that didn’t give up on his dream of playing in the NFL, even after a fractured C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae in a high school football game in 2006. The book tells the story of a football player who today can be looked at as a future CFL hall of famer, but also the story of a kid from Louisiana that didn’t have much of a childhood and used the game of football as an escape and a way to let out his emotions.

JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic recently talked to Delvin Breaux regarding the story in the book, “Un-Breaux-Ken” and gathered many reasons why his book should be a top seller.

Starting from the top, when you watch Delvin Breaux play football today on the professional stage you can see he plays with aggression. He plays with meaning. He plays the game of football as if he’s on a mission, and a lot of that has to do with his upbringing. For Breaux, football in a way was, and still is a part of a mission to be great. Growing up in the New Orleans, Louisiana area Breaux told Zlomislic that he didn’t have a “normal childhood”. He opened up about his childhood, the difficulties he faced as a child and how he used the game of football to get away from the struggles. “I had a lot of things going on behind closed doors at the time.” Breaux said, “I had a lot of aggression built up. I wanted to commit suicide at 9 years old. I had a lot on my mind, and I let it all out on the field as soon as I stepped onto it.”

Playing both running back and linebacker to start out, Breaux was not only leaving it all out on the field and using the game of football as an escape, but he was also a star early on in his football career.

After being introduced to football by his cousin and brothers, football, as mentioned became a great outlet for young Delvin Breaux to stay out of trouble and incorporate some kind of normalcy to his childhood. It didn’t take long before football then transformed from an outlet to a way out for Delvin Breaux.

In high school, at McDonogh 35 High School Breaux was making a name for himself. He created some buzz around his name and it didn’t take long before universities took notice of his potential. Once Delvin’s brother got the opportunity to showcase his talents at the Nike Open, his dad wanted him to tag along and showcase his talents at the same time. He told the backstory, “I wasn’t even supposed to be there. I didn’t get an invite to the camp, it was my brother that did but my dad ended up just copying his invite to get me into the camp too and I ended up being the best DB at the camp. Thats when LSU took interest in me and invited me to another camp in June where they ended up putting me against bigger and faster dudes before they offered me the scholarship.”

Everyone that knows Breaux’s story knows that he got that scholarship from LSU. At that June camp which he was invited to Breaux said, “I locked up each and everyone of the guys they had against me. I think they were all receivers they wanted to offer, and guys they wanted, but after that workout not one got an offer but I did.”

So, at this point in Delvin Breaux’s life, and football career, everything looked so good. The hometown university, LSU just offered him a scholarship which he went on to commit to and the NFL was very much in the picture for his future. He had just one more year of high school football before he would be in the Tigers secondary alongside some of the best defensive backs around including Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid who eventually became NFL stars, but after a kickoff on October 27th 2006, on a play which Breaux should have never been on for, everything about him playing at LSU was erased.

Breaux told Zlomislic the story of what happened on October 27th 2006, “the team we were playing, we hadn’t beaten them for 22 years or something like that. As we came out of halftime, the coaches kept saying they needed a big play. We opened the second half kicking off, and I wasn’t even supposed to be on kickoff. I never practiced on kickoff but in need of a play the coach wanted me to go out. I was ready to make a play. Once the ball was kicked I shot out of a cannon and as I went in to make the tackle all I remember is how (the ball carrier’s) his leg lifted and the crown of my helmet hit him straight on in a weird way. When I was laying on the field everything was just dark, I thought I was dead. I wasn’t moving. And then I saw this bright white light in this room, I didn’t see anything or hear anything. It reminded me of Jim Carey and Morgan Freeman’s Bruce Almighty. The coach brought over a smelling salt and asked if I was okay. When I heard him I said yes sir, picked up my helmet and walked off the field with my own power not knowing anything was really wrong with me, I was ready to get back in the game, but when I was on the sideline I could feel sharp pain in my back and in my neck. I remember trying to take an Ibuprofen and thats when, when I couldn’t swallow it, I knew something was wrong and I ended up going to the hospital and I had a broken C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae. I had surgery, and I will never forget before I left the hospital I asked the doctor if football was still possible and he said to send him Super Bowl tickets when I make it to the Super Bowl.”

Now, seeing where Delvin Breaux is at; playing in his 9th professional football season in 2022, some would say his story is a miracle.

After laying down on that football field 16 years ago not knowing if he was even alive after the hit he made, to be able to call himself a professional athlete is nothing short of a blessing for Delvin Breaux. It took a long journey get to where he is today in 2022 and he is extremely thankful for where he is today in his football playing career.

The journey to get to where he is, playing defensive back now for the B.C Lions in the CFL, all began while he was still under scholarship at LSU.

Although he never played a down of football at LSU due to his medical conditions and the University not clearing him to play, he stayed around the game while he still could. The University honoured his scholarship for him to play a role as a player coach with the Tigers, but having been around such a great organization and not being able to suit up in purple and gold, it wasn’t easy for Breaux to spend time around the football team, and he wasn’t always in the best place mentally while he wasn’t playing the game of football. Breaux went on to tell the story from his days at LSU, “when I went there I thought I’d be cleared.” he told Zlomislic, “I thought after I recovered from my injury and was back to normal I’d be back on the field and everything would be good but they didn’t clear me, they didn’t want to be liable if anything happened, they really didn’t want me to be doing anything around there that could hurt me and I always knew that if football got taken away from me I didn’t know what to do. When they said no to football to me I went to alcohol, I went to party, I went to a whole different lifestyle while I was in University and I was having fun, football was on the back burner, but in 2009 I tried to commit suicide after they tried to make me a players coach there, like watching all these guys doing all this, playing football and everything, I just wanted to be out there, and after that I don’t think I went to the facility for over a year, I was partying, not going to class, really at the time I was taking it all for granted, I had a good opportunity in front of me but it wasn’t what I wanted at the time, I just wanted to play football.”

Delvin Breaux did end up getting his opportunity to play football once again, with his wife at the time, in a flag football league in New Orleans.

He ended up playing more competitively, taking part in a number of tournaments and traveling to do so, eventually getting encouraged by a friend to try out for the New Orleans VooDoo in the Arena Football League where he went on to get noticed by the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats.

In the 25 games played in 2013 and 2014 with the Hamilton Tiger Cats, prior to making his way into the NFL, getting signed by his hometown’s New Orleans Saints Breaux made 60 tackles, a sack, an interception and forced three fumbles. Playing at the professional stage he made a splash, a splash very well needed in his life.

Over his playing career in the CFL, with time spent in the NFL as well, Breaux has now played in 74 professional football games. “Football has always been a passion and a love of mine since I was a kid.” He said, “I’ve always been using it as an escape. I love the game, and when it came back, I was thankful. I didn’t really know what to expect the first time back on the field, I didn’t know if I was going to break my neck the first play back, or if my coverage would suck, but I knew I wanted to go out there and change the world because I never heard of anyone that broke their neck and came back like I did, when I came back I knew I was destined for greatness.”

Talking about his comeback to football he added, “I never rushed it. I allowed the opportunities to come to me… I’m thankful every day to do what I do, and to do all this (play football) at a high level.” Breaux included, “I’m thankful that I can be looked up to at such a big stage where people can look at me and I give them hope.”

Breaux is off to a great start to his 2022 CFL season with the B.C Lions having made 8 tackles and making good contribution towards the Lions’ 3-1 hot start. He and the Lions will be playing their week 6 game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats on Thursday night in Vancouver.

“Its been a complete blessing” Ottawa Redblacks running back Devonte Williams looks back on his story

After going 6-26 over the last two seasons, the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks made several moves during the off-season to improve in every aspect possible. One of the more popular moves of the off-season was the signing of running back William Powell. Powell had played in Ottawa previously, having won the Grey Cup with the Redblacks in 2016 and having success, running for over 1,000 yards on two different occasions in the capital, and acquiring him brought a lot of excitement towards the Redblacks fan base. With a very minimal run game established in 2021, Powell was set to make a big change in the Redblacks offence, but then after suffering an achillies injury during training camp some worried if the run game would be in danger to start the season. Fortunately for the Redblacks though, general manager Shawn Burke and company prepared for the worst. Alongside the signing of William Powell, the Redblacks also signed Silver Springs, Maryland native Devonte Williams who went on to start the first two games of the 2022 CFL season in place of Powell.

Over those two games Williams filled in perfectly, running for 118 yards on 21 carries and even catching 4 passes for additional yardage. That worry that the run game would be dead without Powell in the lineup quickly went away in Ottawa, and the main question now that Powell is back in the Redblacks offence is how can head coach Paul LaPolice and the Redblacks get both Powell and Williams incorporated into the offence. The second game that Williams played for the Redblacks against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at home really showed flashes of how special he could be at this level, running for 85 yards on just 12 carries, averaging over 7 yards a carry it became evident that anything is possible with the ball in his hands, and for Devonte Williams it has always been like that.

Williams earned the nickname, “The Matrix” in little league football and he has lived up to the name in each and every level of football, from little league through the pros with the Ottawa Redblacks.

Growing up in Silver Springs, Maryland, Devonte “The Matrix” Williams was put into football very early. His father, Isaac Williams played with the University of Pittsburgh, both his uncles, Shawn Springs and Omar Evans played professionally in the NFL and CFL and even his grandfather Ron Springs made a name for himself in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. With football running in his family like it does, Devonte starred on the football field very early in little league football and that success only carried onto high school.

In high school, at The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, at the same school of the late NFL quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Devonte Williams made a big name for himself. He was a 3 star recruit with over 20 offers to play division one football in university and was named the 19th ranked player in the state of Maryland and the 62nd ranked running back in the nation.

With dreams of playing in the BIG 10, Williams committed to his only BIG 10 offer from Indiana University where he would actually begin his career as a cornerback. The Hoosiers at the time had running back Jordan Howard who was set to have a big season in 2015 and there wasn’t much room for Williams in the offence, so without much experience on the defensive side of the ball, Williams moved to cornerback as a freshman at Indiana. As a true freshman, he started the first three games at cornerback. Indiana went 2-1 in the three game span and Williams found himself on special teams as a returner, having returned 10 kicks for 204 yards. Unfortunately, on one of those 10 kickoff returns Williams also suffered a season ending injury which forced him to medically redshirt from the 2015 NCAA season.

For Williams though, redshirting ended up being okay for him, getting back on the offensive side of the ball as a redshirt freshman in 2016 where he would go on to gain a total 1,001 all-purpose yards, rushing, receiving and returning. Devonte Williams was then named a BIG 10 All-Freshman and had big expectations going into his sophomore season in 2017.

In 2017 Williams was named to the Paul Hornung watch list, being among some of the most versatile college football players at the division one level. He went on to have 761 all-purpose yards as a sophomore, and with a decline in his involvement with the Hoosiers he made the move to Southeastern Louisiana University where he excelled at each and every aspect of the game, from the run game to the pass game to the return game.

With the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, Williams, over two years was a feature back and found himself making plays, plays so big he got the worlds attention on ESPN, Sportscenter Top 10 with a big punt return touchdown against Nicholls State on senior night, a game where he had three touchdowns, and having made plays like that, Devonte Williams was a name known across NFL front offices ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. The future looked bright for Williams coming out of his senior season in 2019.

That 2019 NCAA Football season though, was the last normal football season that Williams would play.

During that off-season, just before his pro day at Southeastern Louisiana, the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the world and shut down the sports world, it shut down and cancelled all of the events that were set to help Williams get to where he wanted to be. Williams went from having NFL dreams and having the NFL in reach to being unemployed within just months, but his NFL dreams never died.

He went on to showcase his talents in front of dozens of professional scouts in San Diego, California at HUB Football workouts to open up the door for some professional opportunities. Within a week after one of the workouts, Williams would receive calls from both the New England Patriots and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He went unsigned by the Patriots, and was left to sign with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL where he would spend the majority 2021 season on their practice roster.

Williams never got a chance to play with the Blue Bombers in a game, but recently played against them with the Redblacks and recently showed sparks of what is possible with the unfinished story of Devonte “The Matrix” Williams.

Darvin Adams and Ottawa Redblacks look to come off bye week with win over Lions

Over two games the 2022 Ottawa Redblacks have proven to the rest of the CFL that they have indeed improved from the past two CFL seasons. They have proven that they are a team, and a team that can give a good fight to the rest of the league, something that couldn’t be done in 2019 and 2021 in Ottawa.

Despite going 0-2 in their series with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the Redblacks key off-season additions as well as the players coming back to Ottawa have all been playing great football, showing real potential in the nation’s capital.

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has surpassed the 300 yard passing marker in each of the Redblacks games thus far while the new look offensive line has paved a way for running back Devonte Williams to run free while Powell was out, Jaelon Acklin and Nate Behar led the receiving core with 361 combined yards and the Redblacks defence has been great, holding the Winnipeg offence to 19 in both games, only allowing 38 total points.

Comparing these two first games of the season to losses R-Nation has seen in the recent years make the 2022 Redblacks team look great, but with the Grey Cup on all of the players minds this year, the real comparison needs to be to the 2016 Redblacks team that won the Grey Cup. Sure they finished the regular season ugly with an 8-9-1 record, but the 2016 Redblacks team had all of the pieces to win a Grey Cup and they did. One thing that this 2022 Redblacks team lacks so far in the season is the ability to score in the red zone, which is something Burris and his 2016 Redblacks team had a lot of success with, of course finishing the year off with a big red zone score to Ernest Jackson.

Through two games the Redblacks have allowed four touchdowns and only scored one. They’ve had no problem making big plays and moving the ball down field but they continue to settle for field goals, giving Lewis Ward the opportunity to have another historic season. One player that has the potential to make a big change on the offensive side of the ball this week as the Redblacks kickoff against the B.C Lions would be William Powell, a running back that has found himself in this position once before with the Redblacks from 2015 through 2018, and a running back with a proven resume to score touchdowns. He’s coming back from injury for tonight’s game and should improve the offence heavily, giving LaPolice a solid run game to rely on, enough to open up more of a passing game, which would also open up the opportunity to score points in different ways.

One way could very well be to Darvin Adams.

Adams is a receiver that was talked about heavily in the off-season once he was signed by the Redblacks, and everyone saw him being a potential number one receiver for the team, but with Jaelon Acklin tearing it up over two games its as if we’ve forgotten about the kind of impact Darvin Adams is able to make, and what he’s actually doing in red and black already. Over the first two games he’s already made a few big plays having caught 9 passes for 135 yards, but what’s lacking on the stat sheet is touchdowns.

Coming off of a bye week, Adams is ready to provide the Redblacks with touchdowns, or the opportunity to score touchdowns at TD Place.

“We said all week, we’ve been moving the ball, we look good on paper but we haven’t been getting in the end zone so the main focus is instead of Lewis kicking for 3 points we want him kicking for 1 point to have 7 point drives, thats been the main focus, we’re going to have to work a little harder this week to make it happen.” Adams told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic following Wednesday’s walk through.

Catch the Redblacks at home at TD Place against the B.C Lions at 7:30 tonight as they look to bounce back from their 0-2 start coming off of a bye week.

Gameday with RedBlacks’ defensive back Sherrod Baltimore by JZ Media

Featured image taken by Scott Grant

On Friday June 17th for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks 2022 home opener, JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic met up with Redblacks fan favourite defensive back to film a gameday video. Every game, Redblacks fans and football fans around the globe get the opportunity to watch number 27 for the Ottawa Redblacks. They get the opportunity to watch him for 60 minutes on the field and do what he’s best at; play football, but there is so much to Sherrod Baltimore, and all players that fans do not get to see by simply watching the games.

Baltimore is known for not only being a great defensive back for the Ottawa RedBlacks but also a great personality, a caring individual and a leader off of the football field.

In JZ Media’s gameday video with Baltimore, fans get to see a little bit more than they normally do, going behind the scenes and seeing what he does to prepare for the Redblacks’ home opener and to watch the story of the Ottawa RedBlacks home opener unfold through his eyes.

This video is just the first of many that will come just like this to get a look in at what the reality of being a football player is at all levels, including the CFL.

“One door closed, but another opportunity opened for me.” Katley Joseph commits to University of Saskatchewan

On Saturday June 25th 2022 Ottawa’s Katley Joseph made a life changing decision. One that will be recognized nationwide. One that sends him across the country, and most importantly, one that will benefit him for years to come.

Joseph’s big decision was to commit to the University of Saskatchewan. Now, as a football player that has had success on many levels, from NCAFA youth football in Ottawa all the way through the NCAA division one stage, the move to Saskatchewan for many is looked at to be a big win for coach Scott Flory and the Saskatchewan Huskies but as big of a win it is for the team, it is a much bigger win for Katley Joseph.

In 2018 and 2019 Katley Joseph was a star defensive back for the University of Maine. Every time he stepped foot on the field he was looked at to be one of the best on the field. He made play after play after play and took on a role as a leader in the secondary and in the locker room as a perfect teammate. After his sophomore campaign in 2019 it even looked as if the NFL would be in the picture for the Ottawa native. In just two seasons with the Black Bears he added a total 69 tackles, 19 pass deflections, 3 tackles for loss and one interception to his name, but that idea of going to the NFL would very quickly erase over the next two years.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the CAA, the conference which the University of Maine plays in had cancelled their fall 2020 football season. They eventually had a shortened season the following spring, however Joseph among many others opted out of the season. After going well over a full year without playing football, in the summer of 2021 it was time for Katley Joseph to return to Maine and get back to work, to finish what he had started in 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, during Maine’s training camp leading into the 2021 fall season Joseph suffered a torn meniscus which sidelined him for the next 6 to 7 months.

He was back training in February, and entered his name into the CFL and NFL Draft with hopes to continue his football career to the professional stage.

Despite gaining interest from each of the 9 CFL teams and getting the opportunity to speak with a scout from the New England Patriots at his pro day, Joseph went through the draft process with no official contract offers from any team. For many, this could be considered as a reasonable outcome because of the two years away from the game of football and the recent injury, however being at 100% now, and with not only game film to back up his abilities but recent workout footage as well it is surprising that there wasn’t any opportunities for Joseph.

There may not have been professional opportunities right out of the gate for Katley Joseph, but at 23 years old he was given some interest from Canadian Universities to prove himself on the football field once again for the 2022 U-Sports season. Of course he has since made his commitment to the University of Saskatchewan, and with that decision he intends on playing the 2022 U-Sports season and furthering his education, getting his masters in education, with plans to be a teacher following his football career.

This decision and opportunity to not only play football and show his worth to professional scouts one last time but to further his education is so big for Katley Joseph and he is beyond excited to continue what he believes is the best story in Ottawa.