Larry Dean, Shaq Evans among six players selected for second year of CFL Player Mentorship Program

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Six new players will take part in the second year of the Canadian Football League Player Mentorship Program, which allows participants to engage with the league office to learn more about the business behind the game.

This year’s cohort will include Montreal Alouettes running back Jeshrun Antwi, Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Larry Dean, Ottawa Redblacks receiver Shaq Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive lineman Anthony Federico, free agent receiver Kamar Jorden and Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Patrick Neufeld.

Last year, the six players selected for the program were Jean-Philippe Bolduc, Stefan Charles, Brett Lauther, Hugh O’Neill, Brian Simmons, and Kenny Stafford.

Canadian Football League Player Mentorship Program is a joint venture between the league office and the CFL Players’ Association. It is designed to allow players to gain a deeper understanding of the business priorities of the CFL and its various departments while building skills to one day transition away from the field into their chosen career paths.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these six gentlemen to the Mentorship Program,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a statement. “Throughout their careers, players spend all their time and effort training, practicing, engaging with the community and so much more. However, there is life beyond the football field to consider.

“Playing careers inevitably come to a close, but when one chapter ends, another begins. This program offers participants the opportunity to explore what their futures may hold. As a league, it allows us to give back to these players a fraction of what they have given to our great game.”

The program is supposed to help build upon the work done through the CFLPA Academy, which is a resource provided to all active and recently retired members of the Players’ Association and their families to assist in career and personal development outside of professional football.

“We are delighted to provide six of our members with the opportunity to join the CFL Player Mentorship Program,” said CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian. “Members will gain valuable exposure to the business side of the league in which they play and provide valuable insights and feedback that will help grow this program for future participants.”

Players will take part in information sessions, job shadowing, and mentorship opportunities with senior subject matter experts from the league office from February 28 to March 3. A wide range of topics associated with the business of professional sports will be covered, including football operations, marketing and communications, finance, data insights and more.

The experience will culminate in a trip to Feridun Hamdullahpur Field House at the University of Waterloo on March 3 for the CFL Invitational Combine. Participants will be able to see how the efforts of the league office’s various departments come together to stage one of the off-season’s key events.

“As a union, it is our duty to not only protect our members’ rights on the field, but also to support their transition to life after football,” said CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay. “Through the CFLPA Academy, we are committed to providing members with the education, skills, and resources necessary to thrive in their post-football careers and lead fulfilling lives beyond their time on the playing field.”

Following the completion of the program, participants will be paired with an individual mentor for ongoing advice and support as they consider and explore future career paths.