OTTAWA – Former National Champion and Olympic Trials Silver Medalist amateur wrestler Devon Nicholson, who also wrestles professional as his alter ego, “Hannibal” tried out for a Defensive End position with the Canadian Football Leagues “Ottawa RedBlacks” team this past weekend in Princeton New Jersey.
Nicholson was the only Ottawa player out of the approximately 100 prospects who attended the New Jersey testing which was the final of four US try outs that the team held this month. The others took place in Indiana, Arizona and Alabama.
Nicholson says that Ottawa RedBlacks Assistant General Manager Brock Sunderland said in a speech that there could be 10 to 15 players from the tryouts called up for positions on the team at the end of May. He said it will depend on how many players on the current roster are released after The RedBlacks mini-camp taking place April 27th to 29th.
The CFL hopeful said he was told the reason there was no try out for the team held in Ottawa this year was the RedBlacks were disappointed with the quality of the players at the regional try out last year.
Nicholson, who attended the Ottawa last year as well, said he found this year’s US testing more intense and physical, “Last year there I found that there wasn’t as much physicality to the try out. This year the position drills were more intense and there was take downs to the ground being done in some cases.”
Regarding the attitudes of the US players as opposed to the prospects at the Canadian try out the man known as Hannibal in the pro wrestling world said “There was a lot more trash talking between players at this weekend’s try out, there was also some dirty play, punching, scratching, tripping, some arguing. I never noticed that last year. The players seemed to be a lot more serious about getting the job this year.”
Regarding what his chances of making the team are Nicholson said “I have not game experience playing football, no footage for scouts to review so I am not getting my hopes up too high. I tried out again this year because I wanted to do better than last year and I think I accomplished that. I would love the opportunity to play for my hometown city in a competitive sport but I understand experience is a big issue with me. I have no regret in doing the try out because I had a lot of fun and received some good feedback from RedBlacks staff.”
Nicholson will still have pro wrestling to fall back on should he not make the RedBlacks team this year. He will be wrestling for the new Crucial Conflict Wrestling that will reportedly have a weekly show on Direct TV starting May 16th in Winston Salem North Carolina and May 23rd in Asheville NC. He will then be performing closer to home for Great North Wrestling May 29th in Smiths Falls Ontario and May 30th in Ottawa at The Earl Armstrong arena tickets for the Canadian events are available through ticketweb.ca