Washington’s long road to his new home
by JACOB DEARLOVE| AUGUST 6, 2015
[b]It’s been quite the journey over the last two months for Donald Washington, but he’s exactly where he needs to be now.
Less than two months ago, the 28-year old defensive back had been released by the Toronto Argonauts, the team he’d spent the 2014 CFL season with.
With the 2015 season looming, the veteran defensive back was living out of a hotel in Toronto, paying out of his own pocket to stay there, waiting for another opportunity.
With no offers on the table, Washington was ready to pack up and head home to Kansas, where he began his NFL career and lives in the off-season. Waiting things out at the hotel was getting too expensive and Washington’s hope of getting a call was waning.
As Washington was loading up his car for the 15-hour drive home, he got a call from Tiger-Cats Director of Football Operations Shawn Burke, offering him a spot at Ticats training camp. There was no guarantee on the table, but there was an offer to make a professional team, and that’s all that Washington needed.
Washington joined the Tiger-Cats with two weeks of training camp remaining, and while he knew a couple familiar faces in Hamilton when he arrived, most of his new teammates were strangers. Despite the unfamiliarity, the former Argo instantly felt at home in the Ticats locker room.
“I knew right away it was going to be a good fit,? says Washington, “just because of the guys that were in the locker room.?
Washington competed hard in camp, earning a spot on the team’s practice roster to start the season, but it wasn’t long before he got his shot in game action. In Week Four, exactly one month after he had signed with the team, Washington got his shot on the field for the Ticats in Montreal.
In his first game back on the field, Washington recorded two tackles against the Alouettes. Two weeks later, in Hamilton’s home opener at Tim Hortons Field, the defensive back’s journey came full circle, as the Ticats hosted the Argos.
Washington had his best game to date in the Black and Gold, and possibly his best game since entering the CFL. He totalled seven tackles on the night, adding a sack and a couple pass breakups, one of which was nearly an interception in the end zone.[/b]
[b]“It was our home opener, so we had a lot to be fired up about, it wasn’t just me trying to get back at my old team,? says Washington, when asked if the opponent brought any extra motivation for him. “It gave me a little motivation to play harder, but as a unit it was us versus them.?
It wasn’t difficult to find motivation on Monday night, says Washington, who was at a loss for words when he tried to describe the atmosphere that was created by the Ticats fans in his first home game with the team.
“Electric. It kind of gave me chills running out here, at my new home,? explains Washington, “I really can’t put it into words, it was electric though, I felt the energy.?
Two months into his time with the Ticats, Washington is feeling right at home, and says that the situation he’s in is the best he could have envisioned for himself.
As for what he’s learned throughout the process, the veteran defensive back says that he’s learned that being in the CFL demands being a professional every day.
“You have to bring your best every single day and don’t be that guy,? explains Washington, “Don’t be the guy that’s lagging, don’t be that guy that’s not studying enough, just hold your end.?
He’s in the perfect situation now, and he couldn’t be more happy with the timing that brought it all together.
“These guys welcomed me with open arms, and I never looked back,? says Washington. “I think that’s helped me in my process of getting better and learning the defence. These guys have helped me more than I could ever thank them for.?[/b]http://ticats.ca/washingtons-long-road-to-his-new-home/