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OTTAWA — Is it an off-season if you’ve never played a season before?
However you choose to label the last seven months, we can all agree that it was incredibly important for Marcel Desjardins and the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Midnight on November 25th saw the REDBLACKS officially be able to sign free agents as they please, and they exercised that right rather quickly, as they signed Fred Rouse, Nick Turnbull, and DiMetrio Tyson, along with defensive back Jerell Gavins later in the month.
The last month of the calendar year was a historic one for the REDBLACKS, as the team built its identity through the Expansion Draft.
Prior to the Expansion Draft, however, Desjardins hired the franchise’s first head coach, naming former Stampeders defensive coordinator Rick Campbell the team’s first ever sideline boss.
It didn’t take long for Campbell to fill out his staff, naming Mike Gibson as his offensive coordinator, while handing the keys to the defence to Mark Nelson.
Other December Transactions
Sign Jordan Roberts, RB Sign Antoine Hicks, WR Sign Eddie Elder, DB
With the Expansion Draft behind them, the REDBLACKS continued to build on their roster, as they would added more bodies to their depth chart.
They started with the signing of kicker Nick Setta while also adding former Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Delroy Clarke.
Other January Transactions
Sign Anthony Barrette, OL Sign Larry Parker, CB
An eventful off-season continued into Fenruary, as Ottawa was finally able to get in on the free agent frenzy.
But before then, Ottawa rocked the CFL world by signing quarterback Henry Burris. The big name signings continued once the market opened with the additions of Malik Jackson and Jovon Johnson.
Desjardins then traded a third round pick in 2014 to Calgary in exchange for Justin Philips, and then added receivers Kierrie Johnson and Aaron Hargreaves to the roster. The month came to an end with the signings of three more players in receivers Justin Chapdelaine and Liam Mahoney, alongside defensive back Justin Ferrell.
Other February Transactions
Sign Limas Sweed, WR Sign Steven Adu, DB Sign Kevin Scott, ST Sign Derek Schiavone, K Sign Matt Carter, WR Sign Bo Smith, DB Sign Brandon Lang, DE Sign Garrett Burgess, WR
Ottawa kicked off March by signing three defensive veterans in Monte Lewis, Seth Williams, and TJ Hill.
They then added some depth to their kicking game with the addition of Justin Palardy.
March also veteran eceiver Paris Jackson join the fold.
But not everyone was happy in Ottawa. As fans and management could only smile at the way their roster was taking shape, Expansion Draft addition Kevin Glenn wanted out of Ottawa, as a result of the team signing Burris.
Other March Transactions
Sign Travon Patterson, WR
As April rolled through and the weather began to change for the better, Ottawa added three more linebackers to the roster in Anton McKenzie, Travis Brown, and Jeremiah Green.
Other April Transactions
Sign Brandyn Thomas, CBSign Marlon Smith, DE
Prior to the excitement that was the CFL Draft, the REDBLACKS put on a show…literally, as they unveiled their uniforms to their fans and players.
Heading into their second Draft, but first as a full participant, all eyes were on the REDBLACKS, as they held the first overall pick.
But less than an hour before they were officially put on the clock, Desjardins opted to ship the Draft’s top selection to Calgary in exchange for Jon Gott.
Desjardins then followed that up by trading Glenn to the BC Lions in exchange for the fifth overall pick, and then swung that pick to the Alouettes for the fourth overall pick, which they eventually used to select Montreal Carabins DB Antoine Pruneau.
Other May Transactions
Sign Brandon Bialkowski, QB Sign Taulib Ikharo, WR