Eight CFL players receive firefighting scholarship, including Redblacks’ star Dominique Rhymes

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Eight CFL players have been awarded full scholarships to complete firefighter certification training through the CFL Players’ Association (CFLPA) Academy.

Former CFL all-star receiver Dominique Rhymes, who signed with the Ottawa Redblacks following his release from the B.C. Lions earlier this off-season, will participate in the program. The 30-year-old target spent three seasons with the Redblacks from 2017 to 2019 before leaving as a free agent in 2020 when Rick Campbell departed Ottawa to become the head coach and co-general manager of the Lions in 2020.

“I’m honoured to receive the scholarship to the Training Division,” said Rhymes in a statement. “I’m super excited to be given this opportunity which will help me pursue my passion to become a firefighter after my football career.”

The seven other players who were selected for the training include Edmonton Elks’ defensive lineman Noah Curtis, Montreal Alouettes’ defensive lineman Avery Ellis, Toronto Argonauts’ offensive lineman Dylan Giffen, recently-retired running back Brendan Gillanders, free agent linebacker Maleki Harris, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiver Brayden Lenius, and free agent strong-side linebacker Mercy Maston.

The eight scholarships were awarded through Training Division, an emergency services training company, and are each valued at over $7,000 USD. The organization will also provide $1,000 entry-level scholarships to all interested CFLPA Academy members as well as their family members.

The CFLPA Academy and Training Division first formed their partnership in 2016 and have helped many players pursue a career in firefighting.

“Since partnering with Training Division, our Academy has seen more than thirty current and former CFLPA members complete certifications to become firefighters,” said CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay.

“Many of those individuals are now serving their communities on the frontlines in Canada and around North America and planned for their transition either during or shortly after their football careers. We applaud this 2024 class of deserving members preparing to join their former teammates and peers in service once their playing careers are behind them.”