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New season, high expectations: Ottawa Redblacks training camp gets underway

The Ottawa Redblacks are getting back on the field with the first official day of training camp starting at 8 a.m. at TD Place on Sunday.

With football season just around the corner, players are meeting their new teammates while veterans are looking for a chance to get better.

It’s been a tumultuous few years for the Redblacks, who failed to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and finished the 2023 season with a 4-14-0 record

The team’s comeback is a task and a responsibility that Reckblacks head coach Bob Dyce said he is taking seriously and expectations are high for the team’s return to the Grey Cup.

“There’s a great sense of urgency here. We have to make sure that we’re utilizing every minute that we’re on the field, utilizing every minute that we’re in meeting rooms and that we’re accomplishing our goals and moving forward,” Dyce said at a media availability on Sunday.

“So we don’t have a lot of patience on what we’re doing.”

The team is hoping their new quarterback Dru Brown will turn things around. The 27-year-old was traded from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2024 CFL draft.

The Ottawa Redblacks play at the team’s training camp on May 12, 2024. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)

Brown threw an impressive for 983 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions with the Blue Bombers. He called Sunday’s training camp “very intense.”

“Anytime you’re opening training camp, guys are always ready to roll, so it’s always highly competitive, it’s always very urgent,” he said.

“I think there’s things that I can clean up. There’s an aspect to continuing to gel with certain guys – but that won’t take long, but there’s always things to improve on, whether its decision or accuracy.”

Receiver Dominque Rhymes will be returning to the Redblacks after leaving the team in 2019 to play for the BC Lions.

Another new face to watch out for is linebacker Adarius Pickett, who showed off an impressive 105 defensive tackles, six sacks, one forced fumble and two recoveries with the Toronto Argonauts.

“We need guys that we can count on and depend on every day,” Dyce said.

“The fact that it’s a new offence – really it’s not different. They got to understand what they need to do. We set our goals daily on what we need to accomplish and we need to hit those goals.”

The Redblacks will play their first pre-season game on May 25 and their first regular season game on June 13 against Winnipeg.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Jackie Perez

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