6 p.m., April 14)
coach and former player to try out for Ottawa RedBlacks
By Fred Sherwin
When Orleans native and Cumberland Panthers
alum Qasim Khan tries out for the Ottawa RedBlacks
later this month, his nephew Huzaifah Rana,
who plays for the Orleans Bengals, will be
cheering him on. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Khan loves football. He loves to watch it, he loves to
teach it, but most of all, he loves to play it. The former
Cumberland Panther, Junior Rough Rider, Ottawa Gee-Gee,
and until recently Ottawa Invader, wants to add one more
team to his resume -- the Ottawa RedBlacks.
30-year-old offensive lineman is currently preparing for
the audition of his life -- a tryout with the CFL's newest
Khan, trying out for the hometown Redbacks is an opportunity
to take care of some unfinished business.
2009, he was added to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers practice
squad on the advice of his older brother Obby Khan who
was the team's staring centre at the time and enjoyed
an eight-year CFL career with the Ottawa Renegades, Blue
Bombers, and the Calgary Stampeders.
his stint with the Blue Bombers, Khan was just happy to
strap on a pair of shoulder pads and spend some time with
his brother. A year later he was back in Ottawa playing
semi-pro football with the Ottawa Invaders.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School grad
never got the chance to suit up for a regular season game
with the Blue Bombers, let alone play a down. He's hoping
to fulfill that dream with the RedBlacks
it's about unfinished business," says Khan. "I
still have that fire in me and the passion to play professional
football. I'm not expecting to make the starting roster,
but I think I would make a great sixth man. Even if I
made the practice roster, I would still be doing something
to help my hometown team."
has plenty of motivation as he prepares for the upcoming
tryouts. His nephew Huzaifah Rana plays minor football
for the Orleans Bengals and the players on the Cumberland
Panthers mosquito team, which he helped coach they last
two years, are all rooting for him.
all about following your dreams," says Khan. "I
want to be an inspiration to my nephew and my Panther
kids and to everyone who's ever believed in me over the
during this football journey I've been on."
last year has been a journey in itself for Khan. After
playing football in one form of the other for the past
15 years, he took a year off from the gridiron to get
his personal life in order after going through a divorce.
also had to get back in shape. During a visit to the doctor
in June, he was told that he was no where near playing
shape. He weighed 322 lbs and his cardio was questionable
months later he's in the best shape of his life as evident
by his performance in a pair of recent indoor practices
with other lineman hoping to make the RedBlacks. In 40
reps, he was only beaten twice.
never felt better, honestly," says Khan. "I'm
ready to go for it."
RedBlacks recently held a mini-training camp in Richmond,
Virginia on from April 9-10 for the 78 hopefuls who are
already under contract. The open tryouts will be held
on April 27 with posible invitations to the main training
camp up for grabs.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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