When the CFL revealed the 90 names from neg lists across the league, there were four were players with Canadian backgrounds.
Teams rarely use negotiation list spots on nationals so when a player with Canadian citizenship appears it’s usually because the team feels strongly about their ability to contribute in the CFL.
Let’s have a look at the four players with Canuck connections.
The son of Tim Rypien a Blue Jays draft pick and nephew of two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Mark Rypien – both born in Calgary – earned the Boise State starting job as a freshman. He’s been the No. 1 quarterback for the Broncos since that first season, going 30-10 and throwing for 9,876 yards and 60 touchdowns. If Rypien wants his national CFL status it’s easily obtainable.
The six-foot-five, 300-pound defender made 38 tackles, 12.5 for loss and four sacks, earning him Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Defensive Player of the Year and NCAA Division III All-American honours. That earned him a trip to the Senior Bowl where he impressed NFL scout before breaking his hand, despite the injury Shepherd boosted his draft stock at the NFL combine.
Menard-Briere was a two-time All-Canadian punter at the USports level drafted in the fourth round, 34th overall in the 2017 CFL draft by Winnipeg. He’s a national kicker with a big leg capable of handling all three duties. The Bombers had him at training camp in 2017 and ensure he’ll be their property by stashing Menard-Briere on the neg list.
Zaruba worked out for the Eagles in July and attended training camp in Philly last year. He was released among final cuts and signed again by the Super Bowl champions in January. The 24-year-old, six-foot-five and 265-pounder is viewed as a tight end for the NFL game. Zaruba played football in high school and was recruited by SFU but never took the field before turning his attention to rugby, starring for Canada’s national sevens rugby team.