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CFL Shutdown Impacts UCF Alums

The Canadian Football League won’t play in 2020

107th Grey Cup Championship Game Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

2020 has claimed another victim. This time, it’s the Canadian Football League. Unfortunately, the CFL is very reliant on ticket sales. After a failed attempt to get some financial relief from the Canadian government, the league deemed it necessary to shut things down for 2020. Whether the long time running league returns in 2021 is a matter of debate.

There were a few UCF players on CFL rosters in 2019. A few well known names like Joe Burnett, Troy Davis, and Keith Shologan bowed out the previous year after successful careers. With the rise of the Alliance of American Football and XFL in the USA, many players left the CFL to try their luck. As we know, the AAF failed financially and the XFL was a victim of COVID-19. Going into the 2020 season, only a pair of Knights were actively on a roster.

Brandon Alexander - CB - Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Winnipeg Blue Bombers v Saskatchewan Roughriders Photo by Brent Just/Getty Images

The team’s most outstanding rookie in 2017 was set for his fourth season with the Blue Bombers. He played in 10 games in 2019 due to injury, but found his way into the starting lineup and played a vital role in the Blue Bombers’ Grey Cup championship run.

TJ Mutcherson - CB - Ottawa Redblacks

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 17 Cure Bowl - UCF v Arkansas State Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TJ was signed by the Ottawa Redblacks in February with a bunch of other American players ahead of the 2020 season. Obviously, he never had a chance to play for his roster spot.

Let’s look who was on a roster in 2019

Donald de la Haye - K/P - Toronto Argonauts

CFL: Toronto Argonauts v Hamilton Tiger-Cats - June 6, 2019 Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images

Hey, remember him? de la Haye’s call to fame was losing his scholarship at UCF due to monetizing his kicking ability on YouTube and violating NCAA rules. He was signed by the Argonauts in 2019 and ended up on the practice squad after getting in some preseason play. They ultimately put him on the suspended list, which allowed him to go back to making videos.

Chris Martin - OL - Ottawa Redblacks

NFL: SEP 01 Preseason - Bills at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A couple of years after failing to catch on to an NFL team, Chris Martin was signed by the Ottawa Redblacks in 2018 for some needed depth. He signed with the Orlando Apollos of the ill fated AAF in 2019, but was fortunate enough to have been re-signed by the Redblacks after the AAF ceased operations.

Lance McDowdell - LB - BC Lions

Central Florida v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Lance was signed by the Lions in March of 2019 and subsequently released in May. He ended up playing the 2019 season for the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League, being named to the All-IFL team. Lance was tragically shot and killed on December 20, 2019.

Terrance Plummer - LB - Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Toronto Argonauts Vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images

After a three season stint with the Toronto Argonauts, Plummer signed to join the Orlando Apollos the day before the league suspended operations. Three days later, he signed with the Tiger-Cats only to be released a month later. For 2020, Plummer played with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL until the league also suspended operations due to COVID-19.

It will be disappointing if the CFL cannot put together a 2021 season as it has provided playing opportunities for many Knights over the years. It also isn’t known when the XFL will return to the field. In the meantime, outside of the NFL, there are a variety of indoor football leagues out there to help players continue their careers outside of UCF.