Hilo’s Clay Signs With CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks
Another door has opened for Hilo High School graduate Charles Clay.
After the Green Bay Packers cut the former Southern Methodist University and University of Hawai’i football standout back in August, Clay has been given another chance to make it on the football field. He was signed to the practice squad of the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Redblacks.
“Since I left Green Bay, it’s been stressful, but you know, I’ve always kept working and stuff, never losing hope of the dream,” Clay said from his hotel room in Canada. “I just went back to doing what I was doing for pro day and before draft day.”
Earlier this month, Clay was signed by the Arena Football League’s New Orleans VooDoo. New Orleans’ season, however, had ended in July, and Clay wasn’t getting any work on the field. It didn’t take long for Ottawa to get in touch with Clay’s agent, John Perez.
“The Ottawa Redblacks were in contact with my agent,” Clay explained. “My agent was doing a great job and was in constant contact with all of the numerous teams that contacted me during the journey, but Ottawa was the team showing the most interest. My agent told me that if they decided that they wanted to bring me in, that it would be a good opportunity for me to take. They called me last week Wednesday and brought me in last night (Sunday).”
In order for Clay to go to Ottawa, the VooDoo placed him on its “other league exempt” list.
Canadian football was on Clay’s radar, even before the NFL draft.
“It was just another opportunity for me to continue my football career,” said Clay. “It’s a little different football, but it’s fun football, and for my first time out of the country, I get to experience a different culture. I’ve only been here for a day and I’m enjoying it.”
Clay is on Ottawa’s practice roster, meaning that it isn’t a guaranteed chance that he will make the active roster. He doesn’t have much time to work his way onto the main squad, though. The RedBlacks, holding a 2-13 record, have three remaining games this season, starting Friday against the Montreal Alouettes.