Despite being cut from his dream team, the sun still rose for Rashaun Simonise.
In a rare trajectory for a football player, the former Pitt Meadows Marauder has gone from an NFL training camp to junior football back in B.C.
The big receiver was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals just before the NFL season began last Thursday, and now he’ll be playing for the Okanagan Sun of the Canadian Junior Football League.
“We are pleased to add the stellar talent of Rashaun to our roster,” said Sun head coach Ben Macauley. “With NFL experience, he immediately impacts the league and draws defensive attention. He is also a dynamic returner with unmatched athleticism.
“While Rashaun has bigger things in store, we are happy he has chosen to finish the season with the Okanagan Sun family.”
Simonise, 21, is 6’5” and 200 pounds with pro-calibre speed. He played with the University of Calgary Dinos last season, putting up 1,079 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in eight games, and was selected an All Canadian.
He was ruled ineligible to play in the CIS for academic reasons this season, and signed with the Bengals as a free agent.
In pre-season action he caught just two passes for 64 yards.
The next big step in his career is expected to be a selection in the first round of the CFL draft.
The Sun has had Simonise on its radar since Macauley recruited him as a senior at Vancouver College back in 2012.
With the help of Kyle Kuzek, a former Sun player who lives on the Lower Mainland, the Sun was able to get Simonese sealed and signed on Sunday night.
“Rashaun has certain goals and he wants to play at the highest level,” said Macauley. “Right now, winning a national championship is the first step for him, we were able come to an agreement and he’s really excited about joining us.
“He’s very passionate about football, he’ll bring a great work ethic and passion that will rub off on the other guys.”
– with files from Warren Henderson, Kelowna Capital News.