Outside the hashmarks, Dejon Brissett has ambitions to show the world he’s not your parents’ top pro football draft pick.
Toronto Argonauts selected the Mississauga native in 2020, admittedly because of the wide-receiver’s physical traits and outstanding achievement as an amateur on the field.
What they did not expect was a potential front-office piece, in addition to an on-field player.
“Life after sport has always been something I’ve thought about; I’ve always been thinking ahead, so when I chose Richmond initially it was because I knew how strong academically it was,” he said. “My parents always made sure I was into my books, but this thought (process) has always been inside me.”
Already boasting an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Richmond and exactly zero CFL stats under his belt, Brissett approached the team about a second job.
He was told by a player-personnel representative that the difference between getting an internship and being hired, required more than the academic credential he had, so Brissett went the whole way and added a Master of Education.
“I always felt a responsibility to lead by example in the classroom,” said Brissett. “I was being looked up to by my younger brother (Oshae Brissett, Indiana Pacers Forward-Guard) so I’ve always wanted to do things the right way.”
Brissett’s academic achievements are remarkable and transcend some assumptions about the pro-ready student-athlete, particularly with visible minorities.
At Lake Forest Academy, in Chicago, IL., he participated in multiple sports, captained the football team, was the most valuable player, and importantly to his parents, a fixture on the honour roll.
Brissett honed his talent and pursued his ambitions because of the opportunity to access good coaching, and new infrastructure as an adolescent. An opportunity he pointed out was not equally available to everyone.
“What I really want to do is work with the inner-city kids; and build up the football infrastructure in Canada, because it’s lacking and it’s behind, compared to U.S.,” he said.
Argos fans should expect a productive Brissett this year due to a good off-season training regimine, and better familiarity with the offence.
“I’ve been working on the things that I lacked; and even if I get the same amount of opportunities as I did last year, I know I’ll take more advantage of it,” he said.
He also talked about the prospect of playing a full season with unrestricted capacity crowds, and how players should handle security situations, like the fan-initiated melee that followed last year’s East Division final at BMO field.
“As players we’ve got to be responsible, and make sure we stay composed when dealing with these occurrences,” said Brissett. “I really don’t know how you prevent something like that; but by at least having the locker room area more secure; it could prevent that from happening.”