On December 13th 2018, the Redblacks signed thirteen players to play the 2019 pre-season with them. One of the players brought in was Deshawntee “Ironhead” Gallon from Georgia Southern University.
At Georgia Southern, Gallon put together a solid college football career. He spent 5 seasons with the University’s football team where he got playing time in 47 games. In the 47 games, Gallon made play after play tallying up over 230 tackles, forcing 2 turnovers along with 10 pass deflections and 4 blocked kicks/punts.
With the numbers and big plays that Gallon put together at University, he was often looked at by NFL teams but he still went through the 2017 NFL draft unsigned. Although he went undrafted, Ironhead Gallon was taken in by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals for separate training camps.
In the two training camps he attended in both 2017 and 2018, he was able to play 5 pre-season games with the Cardinals. In the five games, Gallon showed up as a defensive play maker, making 17 tackles, deflecting one pass and getting a tackle for loss. Unfortunately for Deshawntee, the two training camps didn’t do enough for his future in the NFL, and he found himself going unsigned by an NFL team and later picked up by Ottawa of the CFL.
Following his signing in early December, Gallon came down to Ottawa for the 2019 CFL pre-season where he put together a good name for Redblacks fans. It may have been just his name in which many liked to say, although his lay on the field shook heads in the Nations capital. In the first pre-season game he had played in Ottawa, he put himself on the stat sheet 7 times with 7 total tackles. He put together a fantastic first game, but his second game of the 2019 pre-season was cut short due to an achilles injury.
The injury would’ve left him on the Redblacks injured list for the majority of the CFL season, so the Redblacks decided to release Gallon from the roster. After the release by the Redblacks, Gallon hadn’t been signed by a CFL or NFL team therefore he’d spend his time getting ready for the next opportunity.
That next opportunity was later announced that it would be the same landing spot as the last one. Gallon was recently signed back to the Redblacks, and Gallon is extremely excited to come back to Ottawa for the 2020 pre-season.
Q & A with Ironhead Gallon
Just days following the announcement that Ironhead Gallon would be coming back to Ottawa, I reached out to Gallon and was fortunate to get a few questions answered ahead of his travels to Ottawa.
Zlomislic: Just this week, you were signed to play for the Redblacks. This will be your second time in Ottawa. What was your reaction to this opportunity?
Gallon: “I was very excited! I’ve been really happy for this opportunity… I felt like I had a pretty good pre-season last year but with the injury I wasn’t able to see the field in the regular season but I’m at 100% now and I’m feeling even better than before so I’m excited to show what I’ve got once again.”
Zlomislic: Last time you were here, you put together a solid pre-season but was later released because of an injury, but you were just brought back to show them who you are once again. What do you have to do to show this Redblacks team that it was a good idea to have you back?
Gallon: “I just got to show them that I still got my juice, I’m explosive and that I can still make plays on the ball”
Zlomislic: As mentioned, you spent last pre-season here in Ottawa, what was that like for you?
Gallon: “It was very eye-opening. I had to get help from a few veteran players to adjust to the rule changes because it felt a lot different from the ball I played out in the states. Other than that, it was great, I thought the atmosphere in Ottawa was unreal and people were really welcoming and I had a good grasp of the game up north so I’ll be ready when I’m back.”
Zlomislic: You just mentioned that there is a rule change in between the NFL and CFL, what was the hardest change you had to go about?
Gallon: “I wouldn’t say I had a hard change to go through just because at the end of the day, it’s still football but it was a little too tough to get adjusted to as quick as we had to.”
Zlomislic: As you said previously, the atmosphere here in Ottawa is pretty crazy at times and that’s one of the reasons why we are the home of the best fans in the East, what do you have to say about the fans that cheered you on last year?
Gallon: “Unfortunately I hadn’t spent too much time up there to really soak it all in, but when I was there the fans treated the players with the upmost respect and the community made sure that everything was going good because they truly care about Ottawa football. They care and love the Redblacks and that’s what I and the rest of us really appreciated from the fans.”
Zlomislic: Although you haven’t had a lengthy opportunity yet in professional football, behind you is a well put together University career. What wold be your favorite memory at Georgia Southern?
Gallon: “Man I’ve got a lot… If I had to pick one it would be the 2014 season, we just moved into the Sun Belt Conference and we showed them who we were by winning the whole conference. We went undefeated in the division and outright won the division. For me and my teammates, it was one of the best feelings ever!”
Zlomislic: In that time at Georgia Southern and the time you’ve had at professional camps, you’ve been among a lot of different athletes, who would be the most interesting person you’ve played with?
Gallon: “I’d have to say J.J Wilcox, I was a freshman when I played with him while he was a senior at Georgia Southern and he pretty much took me a side and helped me out with some things at the collegiate level and he really led me in the right direction so I’d have to say it was interesting how he did that for me.”
Zlomislic: On the field, you’ve put together a good name for yourself as a defensive player, what would be one word you would use to describe your play on the field?
Gallon: “Relentless. I’m a relentless player because I will play balls to the wall as if every play is my last. Last year I had a good pre-season going in Ottawa but it was all cut short because of an injury. Just the thought that that could have been my last snap on the field is weird so I’ve got to play every play like its my last and leave everything on the field.”
Zlomislic: You were recently signed by Ottawa, but as mentioned you already played here last year. Last year you played for Rick Campbell here in Ottawa but the next opportunity you have in Ottawa will be for Paul LaPolice. What excites you the most to show LaPolice who you are?
Gallon: “It’s always been a big thing to get a good first impression, and for me to get that opportunity in Ottawa I hope to leave a great impression on coach LaPolice and pretty much show him what I’ve got. I’m pretty sure I can do that and I’m excited to do it”
Zlomislic: As mentioned before, you got to play a little for the Redblacks last pre-season but your opportunity was cut short. What can Redblacks fans expect when you step foot on the field once again?
Gallon: “They can expect from me, a player that gives it all I got. Day in, day out I’ll be working hard and making sure I make an impact on he field. I want to be a great team player for the Redblacks so that’s what they can expect from me on the field.”