Scott MacDonell looks back at his time in Ottawa, and what’s next for him

In the 2014 CFL draft, Scott MacDonell was selected to play for the Ottawa Redblacks. The Montreal native was hoping to repeat what he did at Queens, but the rookies goals came behind the team’s as they were looking to gain attention after the city’s disappearance from football. The 2014 season was Ottawa’s first time an Ottawa football team stepped field since 2006, when the Ottawa Renegades folded.

The Redblacks attempt to a big comeback in the first year of their existence fell short… really short. The 2014 Redblacks finished the year 2-16, although they did show a lot of hope towards their fans, Ottawa’s rookie receiver started his career off great. MacDonell caught the ball 13 times in his rookie campaign turning them all into 181 yards and a touchdown.

Year two for MacDonell started to build memories more than build stats, as the signings of Greg Ellingson, Brad Sinopoli, Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams added fire power toward to Ottawa Redblacks pass game. With playing time diminished, MacDonell only put up 2 receptions for 26 yards.

In the 2015 season, Ottawa brought in a big group of players that would play with Scott MacDonell, and out of the group coming in, one of them Ernest Jackson became one of Scott’s favorite teammates. MacDonell looks back “We had a lot of interesting guys here in Ottawa and on other teams I was a part of, but E Jack was something else. One time I saw him walk past Marcel Desjardins and in full stride he looked back at him with a big emoji looking face and it may have been one of the only times I saw Marcel laugh during a practice. Slim Jim Jack was just one of those guys that brought energy and humor to the serious game. He was definitely one of the most interesting guys I’ve played with.”

It was tough for MacDonell to get involved with the offense as the team kept growing and getting better, but the additions of these players helped Scott win championships.
The comeback, which gave all of Ottawa hope towards their football team was led by veteran quarterback Henry Burris, who led the Redblacks to two straight Grey Cups in ‘15 and ‘16. Although it seemed like a one man show at times, Burris wouldn’t of been able to do it all without the rest of the team, such as Queens’ product, Scott MacDonell.

Out of the two Grey Cup appearances in MacDonell’s career, he won the second one in 2016 against Calgary and he used the word “Focus” to describe it “We showed up to Toronto with a purpose and we had to focus on our goals all week.”

From his last season at Queens University, MacDonell caught for over 450 yards and 4 touchdowns, so when his playing time was reduced here in Ottawa, it may have taken a little bit of time to adjust to the new roles because of his previous success.

– #83, wide receiver Scott MacDonell. Ottawa Redblacks training camp at TD Place Friday, June 2, 2017. Julie Oliver/Postmedia

For MacDonell, the adjustment didn’t need much time , as when he was placed onto special teams, he forced over 10 tackles and a fumble recovery in both 2015 and 2016.

After winning the Grey Cup in 2016, the Redblacks brought MacDonell back for the first few weeks of 2017, but once the 2017 season was in full swing, the Redblacks made a decision which would end in Scott MacDonell being released by the team.

MacDonell was back in Ottawa this past week at the Redblacks home finale in 2019 and he explained “My time here was incredible. I don’t think I took enough time to appreciate it when I was here but now that I sit in the stands here today, I’ve reminisced so many memories that were built here at TD Place. Even when I look back at it, I had so many ups and downs in my career, but the fact that I won a Grey Cup, is unreal and to think that there were ever bad times is crazy when you look at all the great times.”

Unfortunately, MacDonell has just gotten one stint with the Edmonton Eskimos since the departure from Ottawa, and he’s begun to move on from football. Although he hasn’t oficially called it quits on his football career, he is now working with technology “Right now, I’m working with a company called Insight who is a computer company. They’re Microsoft’s number one global partner along with one of CISCO’s main partner and we do a lot of security and data. I am very interested in my IT field, and the way I spread positivity, I believe that I can grow into a company in future years.”

Even-though he is not a part of football on the field, he’s trying to find his way into football off the field. “I started Project Play-maker, I’m trying to help out a lot of younger athletes in my area, where I do my best to help them grind off the field. In football, you show up to your team and your coach and to be physically fit is not the responsibility of your team, in fact it’s your responsibility to be ready to play, and with Project Play-maker, I’m hoping to get these guys ready for their next seasons.”

While Scott starts to build his coaching skills with “Project Play-Maker” look out for Scott MacDonell in coaching jobs as there is a possibility that he coaches here in Ottawa or some place else in the CFL


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