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Simon Le Marquand picked up by new CFL team after final season with Gee-Gees

Photo courtesy of Simon Le Marquand

University of Ottawa graduate Simon Le Marquand is ready to compete in the first Ottawa RedBlacks football season after being signed late in the summer of 2013.

Le Marquand, wide receiver, was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013 as a fourth-round pick.  However, after a couple of months that included training camp, he was let go by the team and told to complete his fifth year of eligibility with the Gee-Gees.

“I was really excited and nervous when I got drafted to the Ti-Cats. It was a good experience,” said Le Marquand. “I learned a lot during the training camp, not only playing football, but with the guys.  They have a great coaching staff and great players like Andy Fantuz and Samuel Giguère.  Unfortunately, I was cut.”

Despite being let go, Le Marquand made the most of his 2013 season by posting four touchdowns and 374 yards with the Gee-Gees, ranking top four for touchdowns in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) records.  The RedBlacks readily signed him.

“The reason we signed him is because we feel like he has a chance to compete strongly,” said Brock Sunderland, assistant general manager for the RedBlacks. “We liked not only what he did this year, but what he did in 2012 as a wide receiver.”

The RedBlacks are the revival of Ottawa’s CFL franchise, following the suspension of the Renegades in 2006.

“When I found out that there was going to be a new team in Ottawa, I was happy,” said Le Marquand, “I was even happier when my agent told me that Mr. Desjardins (general manager of the RedBlacks) wanted to give me a chance.”

Sports_LeMarquand_SimonLeMarquandWEBSunderland expressed that everything Le Marquand did as a Gee-Gee demonstrated a kind of athleticism and talent they could see translating into CFL competitiveness.

“We think he has a talent to make our team, and potentially make us a winning team from day one,” he said.

He said Le Marquand was signed purely based on his talent, and that “it’s icing on the top that he’s local.”

Le Marquand said the RedBlacks have a different feel from the Tiger-Cats because they’re more or less a new team, but he’s open to the opportunity this presents.

“I just want to prove that, from week one, I can play,” he said.  “Whether that’s as a receiver or on specials, I want to prove to everyone that I am in the CFL and that I deserve to be in the CFL.  I have one goal right now, and that’s to play on week one.”

Le Marquand said he’s been lucky to have his experience with the Gee-Gees.

“All the cards just seemed to line up for me.  I’m in Ottawa, playing professional football now after I played in high school in Hull and at the University of Ottawa,” he said.

“A local guy like me, I just want to stay here and play in front of my family and friends.”