Former Redblacks’ head coach Paul LaPolice denies he was ‘not Shawn Burke’s guy,’ thanks organization following firing

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Former Ottawa Redblacks head coach Paul LaPolice has released a statement following his firing on Saturday morning, thanking the organization and general manager Shawn Burke for their support during his time with the franchise.

“Although I am disappointed in what has happened, I understand that each year in pro sports,  coaches are fired.  I am accountable for our record and we have not won enough games this season.  I want to thank Roger Greenberg and the rest of the ownership group, as well as  Mark Goudie and Adrian Sciarra.  The leadership at OSEG are top notch character people who have been extremely supportive and were a dream to work for.

A narrative will be written that I was not Shawn Burke’s guy because he did not hire me, that cannot be farther from the truth.  Since his opening press conference, he has been an outstanding supportive general manager who always look to find solutions and it was a pleasure to work with him this past year.

I cannot thank enough the players, coaches, and staff that I had the honour and privilege to work with the past few years. The players are truly the best and most valuable part of the Canadian Football League and the REDBLACKS players are top notch high character individuals who will continue to represent OSEG in the community with honour and class.  I have loved my time with the people of this football team, I loved my time interacting with the people of Ottawa and I will now love to spend some much needed time with the family.”

LaPolice became the second head coach in Redblacks’ franchise history in December of 2019, fresh off a Grey Cup win as offensive coordinator of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He spent two seasons at the helm, managing a 6-22 record.

The Redblacks went 3-11 under LaPolice in 2021, finishing fourth in the East Division and eight points out of a playoff spot. General manager Marcel Desjardins was fired with three games remaining in the regular season and replaced on an interim basis by assistant general manager Jeremy Snyder.

Ottawa hired Shawn Burke as the team’s new general manager in December 2021 following a decade-long stint in personnel with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Burke and his new front office staff overhauled the team’s roster with over half of the team’s Week 1 starters in 2022 being in their first year with the Redblacks.

The club started the year with an 0-6 record, which was due in part to a leg injury sustained by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. The team went 3-2 from late July to early September, defeating the Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Elks, and Montreal Alouettes. Though not formally eliminated, they have since fallen out of postseason contention, recording their third consecutive loss on Friday against the B.C. Lions.

Now 3-11, the Redblacks have four games remaining: two at home and two on the road. The team is currently 0-7 at home this season.