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September 9, 2019

GET TO KNOW: DEREK DENNIS

CALGARY, AB - MAY 23, 2019: Calgary Stampeder studio photo shoot. (Photo by Candice Ward/Calgary Stampeders)

It’s a new year and it’s time to get to know the members of the 2019 Stampeders team!

Next up: Derek Dennis

Height: 6’3”
Weight: 348-lbs
Birthdate: 07/16/1988
Born: Queens, NY
School: Temple

When did you start playing football?

I started playing football my senior year of high school, it was a way to pass the time until basketball season. I was never really a football player, my dad used always try and get me to play but I always said no because I didn’t want to get hurt, and mom thought the same. So that was always my excuse ‘mom doesn’t want me to get hurt so I’m not playing’. My senior year I figured I’d play just for fun, and I ended up getting a football scholarship so it turned out really well for me.

What is your favourite thing about the game of football?

For me it’s the physical aspect. As a kid with my background growing up in New York City and having to deal with a lot of stuff, it helped me find that aggression part of me and gave me an outlet to be aggressive in a controlled environment. I found a love for it because of the physicality, you can beat upon people and people just love you for it.

What is your favourite drill and why?

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of practice. But I liked the Oklahoma drill when I finally got the hang of it. But as I’m getting older I realize now it’s not the best drill to do because it puts a lot of wear and tear on your body.

Who has been you biggest football mentor?

I’ve got a couple guys. Where I went to high school we had an O lineman by the name of Tre’ Johnson, he went to Temple, too, so we went to high school and college together. He ended up being drafted by the Washington Redskins and playing six or seven years of NFL. The second biggest influence I had is Charles Spencer, he went to Pittsburgh got drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round, and I trained with him when I as coming out of college for like three years. He’s like my big brother, I learned a lot of stuff from him.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on a football field?

One of my friends from college, we had a really physical day in practice and we used to wear white pants. His cousin was actually a linebacker, so they used to have the craziest collisions ever in practice – they were two of the hardest hitters. They met in the hole, and they hit each other so hard that my buddy ended up doing a number two on himself and you could see it clear as day because we were wearing white pants.

If you could have been there for one event in history, what would it be?

I would have to say the Million Man March because of the cultural and historical significance it has for me being a young black male that grew up in the US – everybody knows the racial climate in the US.

If you could have lunch with any three people – dead or alive – who would you pick?

Biggie Smalls, I’m a New Yorker and he’s the greatest rapper to come out of New York. I would love to sit down with Barack Obama to pick his brain, see what it was like to be the first black president and the pressures of dealing with that. And then Richard Pryor, because he’s probably one of the greatest comedians to ever live.

If you won $10 million, what would be your first purchase?

I’d buy a private island, I googled this one time because I think about this a lot. The cheapest one I found was between $3 and $6 million; I’d buy the island and take the rest of the money to build it up. But no one’s allowed there, just me and my family.