SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The second journey has been made a reality for Springfield’s hometown hero.
Just a little over nine months ago, former Rutgers and Jonathan Dayton football standout Anthony Cioffi was released on the final day of roster cut downs from the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders on September 2.
On Sunday, Cioffi (No. 35) officially became a member of the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Redblacks.
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Sunday marked the Canadian Football League’s official deadline for team rosters to be reduced to 46 active players.
“I signed with them on April 17, but I have had a contract since November 2017 from the Redblacks. I went in for rookie mini-camp on April 24,” said Cioffi. “I made the decision to sign with them, because of how they stood by me through the whole NFL process and it was comforting to have someone want me as bad as they did.”
In his first preseason game against the Montreal Alouettes, he posted one tackle but made a huge impression with a 107-yard interception return off Alouettes’ quarterback Matt Shiltz for a touchdown in the second quarter, to help lead the Redblacks to a 27-7 victory on May 31.
Cioffi had two tackles in a 32-17 win over the Toronto Argonauts on June 7.
“They keep 22 Canadian players and 22 American players, so it is a different cut process than the NFL. The NFL keeps more guys than the CFL and not only are you competing with Americans, you are also competing with Canadian players as well,” Cioffi said. “The transition is still continuing and the rules are a lot different from the NFL, but it is my job to adapt and make sure I know everything so that I could be the best player I could be.”
After a season-opening bye week in Week 1, the Redblacks will host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
“It’s great to excite the fan base and coaching staff, because they see all their hard work through us the players. I just continue to put my head down and work hard so that I could always be in the best possible situation,” said the 23-year-old Cioffi.
At Rutgers, Cioffi tallied 168 tackles, two and a half sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and eight interceptions in a stellar “do-it-all” 47-game (33 starts) career, where he played cornerback, free safety, and strong safety.
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