After the game: Manny Arceneaux’s career transition

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Veteran CFL receiver Manny Arceneaux has used the pandemic for personal growth.

Arceneaux penned a first-person column for Bodylogix outlining his process and mindset since the coronavirus hit North America.

After playing nine seasons in the CFL, eight with the BC Lions and one year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the biggest question I had was, what’s next? When my football career ends, what will I do? Who will I be?

An important lesson I’ve learned to embrace is that football is just my occupation; it’s not who I am. I think this can help retiring athletes from feeling as though they are losing a part of themselves.

As a free agent, with some uncertainty and self doubt creeping in, I had to refocus and remind myself to control the things that I can control and not stress about the rest. I’m very big on energy and effort so I continued to work my ass off while playing the waiting game to see if a team would call or bring me in for a workout.

I’ve always been a hustler. So, I took what I learned throughout my career and started training youth athletes in speed and agility and got a job at D1 Sports Training in Allen, TX as a strength and conditioning caoach. It was a good opportunity to pass time, but COVID-19 had hit and that’s when things got real.

Playing a final football season in 2020 to wrap up my CFL playing career became just a thought. That wasn’t a reason to have a pity party; it actually motivated me to get things done. I was able to start my own business, Manny Show LLC., which is centred around wide receiver training and development. My wife got her real estate license and I started the online curriculum for Texas Teachers, so that one day I can teach in the classroom and begin coaching at some point.

Long story short, life is all about adapting and adjusting. Adversity will hit and when it does what are you going to do about it? Having the mental toughness to outlast your circumstances is key. I encourage everyone to use this time to figure themselves out, spend more time with your family, and any ideas or goals you’ve had in the past, put forth the effort to accomplish them now.

Find a way, not an excuse.

Arceneaux signed a one-year contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders during free agency in February 2019. He played in 11 games, making 22 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

The 33-year-old has been a free agent since February.

Prior to joining Saskatchewan, Arceneaux played 129 games and recorded 556 receptions for 8,169 yards and 55 touchdowns over eight years in B.C. He produced had three straight 1,000-yard seasons — including a career-high 1,566 yards in 2016 — from 2015-2017.

Arceneaux was named a CFL all-star in 2015 and 2016.