Ottawa fan favourite Ettore Lattanzio retires from the Redblacks

Heart-and-soul Ottawa Redblack Ettore Lattanzio is calling it a career, according to a report from Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees product spent his entire five-year CFL career with his home town team, becoming a local fan favourite.

Despite never being a full-time starter in the CFL, Lattanzio has proven extremely effective as a rotational piece on the defensive line. Now he’s walking away to focus on his real estate career and family life.

“I came, I saw, I played, I won a Grey Cup with a great organization and I’ve been able to play with some legends,” said the 30-year-old. “It happened sooner than I would have liked, but I’ve been very fortunate and blessed. I talked about it with teammates, former teammates and family members; it’s not an easy decision.”

During 63 career games Lattanzio has made 70 tackles, eight sacks and forced two fumbles. Lattanzio was a fifth round draft pick, 38th overall in the 2015 CFL draft. That came after he won the J. P. Metras Trophy as USports best lineman in 2014.

Lattanzio led the OUA with eight sacks in 2014 and tied for the national lead with 14 tackles for a loss. He was named the OUA’s top lineman for the second straight season and a spot on the first all-Canadian team for the second year in a row.

One year prior, Lattanzio made the switch from defensive end to defensive tackle and still led the OUA with 10 sacks, which co-led USports. He picked up eight sacks in 2012 and five in 2011 for a university career total of 31.

The new pandemic reality forced Lattan

“Every year, you’re offered less and less money – it’s not the team’s fault, it’s the circumstances. They need to make cuts – it’s understandable. If it was a couple of years back and I didn’t have a child, it’d be a no-brainer – I’m signing up and I’m ready to go,” he said.

“So now I’m thinking about the big picture; if I have to continue to take a pay cut to do the same work with the same amount of risk involved, it’s tough at this point of my life.”

While the under-sized grinder never became a superstar, his impact on his hometown team was noticeable and he will be missed.

“He’s everything you want in a player and person,” said Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins. “He’s a salt-of-the-earth type of guy; you’d love to have a bunch of those guys around.”

Now the Redblacks will have to find that somewhere else.