Former Riders roommates realize dream in Derrick Moncrief’s first career NFL game

Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Rams

Derrick Moncrief and Sam Eguavoen used to watch NFL games together at their house in Regina.

The pair were linebackers with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and lived together for two seasons in Canada, 2017 and 2018. One year after Eguavoen made the Miami Dolphins roster, Moncrief joined his former CFL teammate south of the border with the Los Angeles Rams.

“We’d be watching NFL games like, ‘We’re going to be there’ — envisioning those moments,” Moncrief said on the 3DownNation podcast.

“We were so locked in on the CFL because we knew we had to dominate where we were at in order to get where we want to go. Watching NFL football wasn’t going to help me in the CFL,” Eguavoen said.

Moncrief made LA’s practice squad coming out of training camp and was activated for Week 8. Special teams coordinator John Bonamego delivered the news on the first day of practice that week. LA had the Dolphins next on the schedule, which meant Moncrief would make his NFL debut against Eguavoen.

Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Rams

“Pulling up to the stadium, I just remember feeling like a superhero. I felt like the Incredible Hulk out there. I was locked in,” Moncrief said.

“I’m one of the best in the world. I can do this, I can play with anybody. You could put me on Mars and they got a football field on Mars and I’m going to go do it.”

Hard Rock Stadium provided the stage for Moncrief to play 15 special teams snaps versus Eguavoen in a 28-17 Dolphins upset victory. No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa earned the win in his first career start at quarterback, passing for 93 yards and one touchdown. The University of Alabama product entered the league as a highly-touted first-round pick, while Moncrief and Eguavoen went undrafted and overcame the odds.

“Playing against my old roommate, aka Slugg, that’s my guy,” Moncrief said. “To be able to play against each other my first game on the field at the same time competing against each other, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

“When the game started, I knew it was all business with him. He didn’t want to talk or nothing. But after the game it was just like the old days,” Eguavoen said. “We been talking about that day since we met, it was no surprise that I would meet my boy on the field one day in the NFL.”

Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Rams

The two swapped jerseys after the game. Eguavoen wrote: My dawg, we came a long ways from the CFL. Keeping chasing greatness. Moncrief scribbled: Nothing but God. Keep pushin’ my brother. Only up from here. 

“I took it all in. It’s such a violent sport, anything can happen. I’m blessed to be able to do what I do,” Moncrief said.

“Playing five years in college, three years professionally in another country, and coming back to the American dream, I embraced the moment because it was bigger than me.”

Eguavoen has earned a consistent spot on the active roster since joining Miami for the 2019 season, which is exactly what Moncrief is trying to do with the Rams.

The 27-year-old NFL rookie, who considers himself part-Canadian from his time in the Saskatchewan capital, went from watching and talking about his dream to living it.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.