Richie Leone, Jake Thomas among seven players selected for CFL Player Mentorship Program

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Seven players have been selected for the annual CFL player mentorship program, a joint initiative between the league and players’ union that exposes participants to the business side of league operations.

This year’s cohort includes free agent offensive lineman Osaro Eromosele, Winnipeg offensive lineman Chris Kolankowski, Winnipeg defensive lineman Jake Thomas, Toronto linebacker Emmanuel Falola, free agent defensive back Aaron Grymes, Edmonton defensive back Scott Hutter, and Ottawa punter Richie Leone.

“Lifelong learning is at the heart of improvement on and off the field,” said commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a statement. “The mentorship program allows us at the league office to spend time with our players and gain their perspectives on all we’re building together and how we can further those efforts.

“At the same time, they will also have the opportunity to explore possible future career paths in a positive environment centred on learning, networking and the exchange of ideas. One day, when their playing days are behind them, they can work within the game and help better it for future generations of CFL stars or translate that knowledge into success in the greater business community.”

Participants will join professionals from the league office from March 4-8 for information sessions, job shadowing, and mentorship across football operations, business operations, Grey Cup and events, partnerships, marketing and communications, data insights, and more. They will also visit the TSN studios.

The program will conclude at the University of Waterloo’s Feridun Hamdullahpur Field House where participants will assist in executing the CFL Invitational Combine.

Each player will be paired with an individual mentor for ongoing guidance after the program is over regarding how the learnings can contribute to their careers away from the field.

“We are thrilled for our academy to team up with the CFL for a third consecutive year, to provide this amazing opportunity to seven current deserving members,” said CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian.

“As a part of this program, they will gain valuable experience and a great understanding into the business side of the league in which they play. Through the CFLPA Academy, we are dedicated to providing our members with the knowledge, expertise, and tools that are essential for success in their careers after football.”