25 janvier 2024

De retour en rouge et noir, Dominique Rhymes est prête à faire la fête

Toronto Argonauts vs Ottawa REDBLACKS November 2, 2018 PHOTO: Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography

Dominique Rhymes is home, though he never really left.

At least not fully.

The American receiver, known for his chill personality and being one of the most fun/funniest guys in the room during his first stint with the REDBLACKS, officially signed a contract Tuesday that will bring him back to the Capital in 2024. Though Rhymes spent the past three seasons out west with the BC Lions, Ottawa has remained part of his life, both symbolically and literally.

After spending the first three years of his CFL career as a REDBLACK from 2017-2019, Rhymes has kept his offseason home in Ottawa. He met his fiancée, Mackenzie, here. He loved playing here and is about as fired up as one can get about making a return to TD Place as part of the home team.

“I’m feeling…man, I don’t know, I’m too happy right now,” Rhymes said. “Ottawa was the first place I played pro, I started my career here, met my fiancé here. I feel like I’m coming home, because I am. I’m still good friends with a lot of the guys from Ottawa; I’ve seen their kids be born, went to a Grey Cup with them, it’s just all love.”

The CFL is a small league, so Rhymes has unsurprisingly stayed in touch with the “family” he created in Ottawa amongst former teammates while he played for the Lions. He’s spent off-season time here training with current REDBLACKS like DeVonte Dedmon, Jeremiah Masoli, Jaelon Acklin and Brandin Dandridge. When the decision was made to move on from the Lions, Ottawa players hit social media hard with their not-so-subtle suggestion that GM Shawn Burke bring Rhymes back into the mix.

Burke, meanwhile, evaluated the possibility based on a different set of metrics before ultimately deciding this would be a good fit for all involved.

Head Coach Bob Dyce, who was Ottawa’s Special Teams Coordinator during Rhymes’ inaugural stint here, was also a significant factor.

“I have that familiarity with Coach Dyce,” said Rhymes. “Even when I left, Dyce told me I was going to be a great player in this league. I know the kind of guy and coach Dyce is, so playing for him again is exciting. I can’t wait to make plays for this team again, but I’m just another piece of the puzzle.”

Rhymes got better with each year he spent as a REDBLACK, going from 219 receiving yards in his 2017 rookie year, to 303 in his sophomore season before blowing up for 1,056 yards and five touchdowns on 65 catches in 2019. He first suited up for the Lions in 2021 following the canceled 2020 campaign, pulling in 28 catches for 411 yards in just eight games. The 2022 season marked a career year for Rhymes as he pulled in 85 of 122 passes for 1,401 and 11 touchdowns.

While he’s still the same Dom, the player coming back to Ottawa is different than the one who left a few years ago.

“Just my leadership and my mindset, I’m a more mature player,” he said. “But I still just want to go out there and help lead my team, get victories every week and keep building that relationship that’s key to a team to be successful.”

Rhymes said he’s also bringing his patented party vibe back to the capital.

“I want to be dominant, make plays and score touchdowns,” he said. “You’re going to see us scoring touchdowns and I’ll be dancing every time I score. It’s going to look like a party. The fans want a party and they’re going to get one.”