September 12, 2014
Former QB Danny O'Brien Visited Shuford Stadium On His CFL Bye Week
With a week off during the 18-game Canadian Football League slate, former Catawba signal caller Danny O'Brien was in town to visit the Indians before this weekend's test against Western Carolina. O'Brien is enjoying his first professional season with the expansion Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Ottawa was not the first stop for O'Brien after finishing his NCAA eligibility with Catawba. The Kernersville, N.C., native initially signed with the Atlanta Falcons, but was released after mini-camp. He was set to play in the Arena Football League before the offer from the REDBLACKS.
"After the mini-camp you never know how long you might have to wait." said O'Brien. "They offered me a multi-year contract so I took the guaranteed chance to play. Even then you still have to go out and prove yourself."
The move to Canada not only brought about a change in scenery, but also challenges of learning the nuances of the CFL game. Not only are there 12 players and three downs to get 10 yards instead of four, but also a wider and longer field. The goal lines are 110 yards apart with end zones that are 20 yards deep.
"It has been great having a veteran like Henry Burris to learn from," continued O'Brien. "He has both CFL and NFL experience. One of the biggest adjustments has been all of the motion that comes with this league."
Even some rules were a surprise to O'Brien as they were happening. In a game against Saskatchewan, the REDBLACKS scored a touchdown on an "onside punt". Under CFL rules as long as a player is behind the punter when the ball is kicked he can legally recover without it touching an opponent.
"I love Canada and Ottawa is a great city," stated O'Brien. "It is a great organization and the experience of traveling to the other cities in Canada is awesome."
O'Brien still keeps up with how Catawba is doing. Even retweeting results from last weekend's win over Davidson. "I was excited to see Catawba beat Davidson and I was proud of Mike (Sheehan), who obviously had a great game."
The REDBLACKS are currently just 1-9, but trail division co-leaders Toronto and Montreal by just two games. The lone win was a 18-17 victory over Toronto. Next up for Ottawa will be a trip to Saskatchewan on September 21. O'Brien is hopeful Ottawa can reach the playoffs, but if not, he plans to get back to root on the Indians at the end of the year.
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