Men’s football alum Brad Cowan on being drafted to the CFL and his time as a Golden Hawk

“My career at Laurier was anything but smooth.” 

Former Golden Hawk linebacker Brad Cowan has had a fair share of misfortune throughout his career. Following an impressive fourth and final season with Laurier’s football team, Cowan was drafted to the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL this past summer. Cowan, who was born and grew up in Ottawa, officially signed a rookie deal with his hometown team just last week. 

“To get drafted by my hometown team, I wish I could go back to that day and relive that feeling… it means everything to me and my family,” Cowan said. 

The moment was special for Cowan as his family have been lifelong Ottawa football fans and he himself recalls going to Redblack games as a kid. After a challenging four years with Laurier, Cowan was able to continue his football career when Ottawa selected him with the 47th overall pick. 

“Honestly, I can’t really put it into words, exactly how I felt the day I saw my name called,” Cowan said. 

His time as a Golden Hawk was filled with adversity. The 6’3, 235-pound linebacker committed to Laurier in 2016 and spent the first year primarily contributing on special teams. Although in a limited role, Cowan was able to dress in nearly every game during his first season, a hard task for any first-year student-athlete, not to mention a Yates Cup winning team. 

While playing in most of the regular season games, Cowan became sick a few days before the provincial championship and was not able to play. 

While putting forth a great season the following year, Cowan suffered a severe wrist injury in during the offseason in 2018 and missed the entire season. 

Coach Faulds has credited the adversity and strength of Cowan to recover from a “gruesome boating accident,” injury and his determination in coming back to put together a dominant final season. 

“I’m not a guy to feel bad for myself. I took it how it was, focused on my recovery, trained all summer and managed to come back,” Cowan said. 

“I owe a lot to Coach Faulds, our training staff and the entire coaching staff for their help,” he added. 

After recovering from the season-ending injury, Cowan came back to be a leader on the defensive side of the ball. In his three years on the field with the team, Cowan took on a bigger role and improved his game. 2019 was a career year for him as he was second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss. Following the season, it was no surprise to see a healthy Cowan selected to the CFL regional combine last spring. 

While the CFL season normally kicks off in November, the league decided to cancel play this past year due to the pandemic. Although disappointed, Cowan has focused on the positive side of things and developed a good balance between the student and athlete role. 

“Football-wise, the pandemic could not have come at a worse time. On the other side of things, the pandemic gave me an opportunity to get my full degree this year,” Cowan said. 

The break from football competition has allowed Cowan to focus more on his studies; however, the strong linebacker has continued to train and has his eyes set on a return to play. 

“It’s definitely been an adjustment. I’ve been doing a lot of at home workouts and been training with my coach, Donnie Ruiz [Laurier football hall of famer],” Cowan said. 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to find places in Ottawa who can keep their gyms open for me as well, just so I can keep up with the consistency of training,” he continued. 

From missing the field in one of the programs’ biggest games to missing an entire season due to a severe injury and suddenly having his first CFL season cancelled due to a pandemic, Cowan has battled many challenges throughout his past four years. His work ethic, optimism and determination will no doubt lead Cowan down a successful path, whether that be on the football field or off it. 

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