We all knew John Santiago was going to get his chance to play professionally. We just didn’t know where.
After attending back-to-back rookie camps over the past couple weeks (Minnesota and Atlanta) but not being able to secure a contract, Santiago decided to try a different route.
In a mild surprise, Santiago signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League this past weekend.
Beside the fact he gets to play professional football in an up-and-coming league (in the U.S.), Santiago also gets team up once again with his former backfield mate Brady Oliveira, who was recently selected in the second round of the CFL draft by the Blue Bombers. Those two were affectionately known as “Thunder & Lightning” during their Fighting Hawks days due to their contrasting running styles.
Santiago will wear #40 for Winnipeg while Oliveira will sport the #20.
You can see in UND RB coach Malcolm Agnew’s tweet how excited he is for his two protege’s to be playing together again. Only this time professionally.
Like we always talked about.. “A little adversity never hurt nobody.”
God has great plans to use your story as a big time testimony!
— Malcolm Agnew (@M_80lane) May 19, 2019
Below are the five running backs currently listed on the Winnipeg roster. As near as we can tell the Bombers typically keep two running backs on the active roster, while keeping two more on the practice roster.
One thing working in Santiago’s favor is he could be worked in as a slot back (wide receiver) – the same position former UND standout Weston Dressler played during his historic CFL career. The wider field (65 yards) will certainly play in Santiago’s favor as he makes his money in space.
It also should be noted that Andrew Harris, the returning starter at RB, is 32 years old. Not saying we know what kind of shape he’s in but that is getting up there in running back years.
27 Augustine, Johnny – 5’9″ 200 – University of Guelph (Canadian)
33 Harris, Andrew – 5’10” 211 – Raiders Jr. (Canadian – Incumbent Starter)
20 Oliveira, Brady – 5’10” 228 – North Dakota (Canadian)
21 Rose III, Larry – 5’11” 195 – New Mexico State (International)
40 Santiago, John – 5’9″ 187 – UND (International)
The Blue Bombers continue camp this week as they prepare for their first exhibition game on May 31st at home vs. Edmonton.
Photo courtesy of undsports.com