Blomquist Signs Deal With CFL Runner-Up Ottawa - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Blomquist Signs Deal With CFL Runner-Up Ottawa

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Sean Blomquist Sean Blomquist

On November 29, 2014, Sean Blomquist sat in his locker after a brutally disappointing, 45-42 loss in the NAIA Quarterfinals to eventual national champion Southern Oregon. He was hurt both emotionally and physically but as he sat there in that locker room he vowed that he would somehow make a return to the football field, to the game that he loved.
“I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth since November 2014,” Blomquist said. “I sat there after that game, and I knew I was hurt but I said to myself, ‘this can’t be it. I can’t go out like this with an injury and a loss. I am going to find a way back onto the field.’”
It took 18 months of persistence, he had flirtations from multiple Canadian Football League teams but late last week, while sitting at his desk at work in Helena, he got the call he had been waiting for. The Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League had a contract for him to sign.
“It’s great to see Sean get this opportunity,” Carroll head coach Mike Van Diest said. “I know the passion that he has for the game of football and the uncertainty that has taken place since his senior year and coming off that tough loss in 2014. I know that he has worked hard and he has tried to do everything he could to get somebody to take a look at him. The CFL looked like the best option now Ottawa has stepped up. I know he’s chomping at the bit and he’ll be as good of a football player in their camp as they can expect.”
Blomquist, a linebacker was a two-time All-American, Two-Time Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a four-year starter for the Saints.
He led the Saints in tackles for his sophomore, junior and senior season, tallying 335 total tackles during his career at Carroll. He holds the school record for tackles for loss, with both the season mark of 19 in 2013 and the career mark of 54.
He often played both ways for the Saints. He has eight career touchdowns, five receiving, one rushing and two interceptions returned for TDs.
He was a dominant player during his time in purple and gold but it was his speed that really stuck out and drew the attention of the Redblacks.
“The best thing about going to camp with their expectations of Sean is that he gets to put the football pads on and that is where he is going to showcase his skills,” Van Diest said. “He can flat run. He is physical. They want around 225-226, which is perfect weight for him. He is just a football player.”
“The CFL is a speed league,” Blomquist said. “They’re field is bigger, the wide receivers get a running start and there are only three downs instead of four so they stretch the field. They were looking for a linebacker with speed that can run the field. That is one of my biggest strengths so I fit what they were looking for. It will take a lot of adjustments with the rule changes but I am excited for the opportunity.”
Van Diest is not worried about Blomquist’s ability to adjust to the new rules. During his time at Carroll Blomquist was diligent putting in work, whether it was practice, film, training room or on game day.
“He is going to spend as much time putting his nose in the playbook as he needs too, he will ask questions, he will watch film, he’ll come every day to practice and bring the best performance day in and day out,” Van Diest said. “He never shortchanges himself. He never took a day off from practice. Some people call it going the extra mile, but to Sean it wasn’t the extra mile. It was just his standard. He takes it very serious, very personal.”
The Redblacks are coming off a trip to the CFL’s championship game, the Grey Cup, where they fell to the Edmonton Eskimos 26-20. The 2015 season was just the second in franchise history after entering the league as an expansion team in 2014.
Blomquist will find himself in the heart of French-Canada and despite his lack of French-speaking skills he is excited for more than just football.
“My French needs some work,” Blomquist said. “But I am excited to immerse myself in a new city and experience new things. This is going to be much, much different from anywhere that I have ever lived and I am excited for opportunity.”
Blomquist’s contract is a two-year deal with a team option for a third. He can be cut at any time.
He joins former teammate Josh James, who Saturday signed a deal with the Green Bay Packers, as the latest Saints to earn a shot at a pro career.
Casey Fitzsimmons, a 2003 Carroll grad, earned a tryout with the Detroit Lions and turned that into a seven-year NFL career. Tyler Emmert (BC Lions), Zach Thirly (Philadelphia Eagles) and Bubba Bartlett (Houston Texans) all earned a shot at a pro career.
Blomquist credits his Helena roots and his time at Carroll for preparing him for this opportunity.
“Everything that I have done here at Carroll and at Helena High has prepared me for this,” Blomquist said. “Coach Van Diest and coach (Tony) Arntson helped me get into this position and I think I am ready for it. They wouldn’t have signed me if they didn’t think I could make an impact and I wouldn’t have accepted if I didn’t think I was ready.”
Van Diest knows that Ottawa is getting a very passionate player in Sean Blomquist and he says the best example of his drive and dedication goes back to that snowy day in late November 2014.
“When we lost that playoff game in 2014, you knew very well how much football meant to him,” Van Diest said. “He took football personally and it ate at him. It wasn’t very long until he was out trying to rehab his injury and get back in and watch some film and do all the necessary things. They talk about a player’s coach and he is a coaches’ player. It is that simple. Everyone would want to coach a player like Sean Blomquist.”


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