Original Redblack Nigel Romick Remains a Star on Special Teams
Photo credit: George Magee Photography
May 13th, 2014. The Ottawa Redblacks are on the clock for their first draft as a CFL franchise. With their third pick they select Nigel Romick, a special teams standout.
Five seasons later, #47 is still making an impact for Ottawa on the special teams unit and is on-pace for a career season. Romick leads the CFL this season with 18 special teams tackles and has had six games with at least two.
Not only has Romick been a consistent force on special teams this season, but has been throughout his CFL career. Aside from a mostly lost 2016 season in which Romick suffered an injured bicep, the 27-year-old has been among the league leaders in special teams tackles year in and year out. Romick finished seventh in both 2015 (17 tackles) and 2017 (19 tackles). He credits his level of consistency to fine-tuning his game each season and remaining healthy.
That consistency has kept him in Ottawa for five seasons, a rare feat when you look back at the original 2014 Redblacks roster. Romick is now just one of five original Redblacks still on the current team and perhaps the most unheralded. Alongside Antoine Pruneau, Jon Gott, Nolan MacMillan and Andrew Marshall, Romick says the five have a special connection.
“That group of five, we are pretty tight. It is a pretty special group,” said Romick.
The five have been with the Redblacks since day one. Although the franchise is only in its fifth year of existence, the team has seen its fair share of highs and lows. That includes a 2-16 inaugural season, a 2015 Grey Cup defeat and 2016 Grey Cup victory. Romick has been there for each step of the journey.
As someone who has inhabited the Redblacks locker room since the beginning, Romick has a unique perspective on the 2018 team’s outlook as the CFL season heads towards the homestretch. He says despite last week’s tough overtime loss to the Blue Bombers, the teams feels on-track right now.
“It’s important we get a win this weekend and keep going from there,” said Romick.
The Thunder Bay, Ontario-native spent his university days at St. Mary’s playing for the Huskies. After redshirting his first season, he gained his special teams skillset in his second year when he became a permanent special-teamer. Because of that, he was ready for the role he would assume in Ottawa.
Although primarily a specialist, Romick has to be on call to fill-in on the defensive line at a moment’s notice. It is something he had to do earlier this season against Calgary when Redblacks starters were injured. That is always a possibility for Romick, so he has not changed the way he prepares each week.
“I go into each game thinking I’m going in on d-line. So I don’t change the way I prepare because of the mentality of next man up,” said Romick.
Romick and the Redblacks will travel to Edmonton this weekend for a critical late-season matchup with the Eskimos. With only four weeks remaining in the regular season, Ottawa remains in pursuit of the East Division’s top seed.