September 17, 2019

Newsome Ready For More In Old Stomping Grounds

Jonathan Newsome (8) of the BC Lions during the CFL game between the Ottawa RedBlacks and the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Photo: Johany Jutras / CFL)

For a guy who prides himself on living in the present and not dwelling on the past, Jonathan Newsome admits he couldn’t resist circling these two weeks on his calendar the moment he arrived in BC. Cut loose by the Ottawa RedBlacks in July before quickly landing on the west coast, the speedy defensive end made a huge impact against his old squad on Friday. His sack on Jonathon Jennings with Ottawa facing a 3rd and goal from the four helped put the exclamation point on a dominant defensive performance that prevented Ottawa from getting into the end zone.

“It felt like how I imagined it to be,” stated an almost out of breath Newsome following some extra conditioning on Tuesday.

“It felt great. I had something to prove but we have another round coming up so I’m not satisfied. I’m coming back home and continuing to work every day.”

It was Newsome’s third appearance as a Lion but the first where he was used on multiple defensive snaps. Inserting him into the lineup will be a nice luxury going forward as the squad also aims to keep Odell Willis and a couple of others in the rotation fresh with seven games to play in the regular season. Newsome credits those key veterans for helping him learn a new defence.

“It makes it a lot easier to just go out there and play freely because you have veteran guys and proven guys like Lemon and Odell out there. I’ve been learning a lot from those guys. As Odell would say, they’ll put the WD-40 on me and get all of this pass-rushing rust off of me because in Ottawa they took me away from pass-rushing. They had me off the ball and playing linebacker. I’m more so just getting into my groove, but getting a sack last week definitely helped. They should start rolling in now.”

And simply put, they will have to continue to do just that if they want to win as many games and stay mathematically alive in the playoff race for as long as they can. If anything, Newsome and a couple of the other newcomers have made fans and observers excited for what lies ahead on the defensive side of the ball. They will still approach this rematch as if everything is on the line.

“I think it’s more of a mental thing,” said Newsome of playing the same team twice in a row.

“The opponent gets to go home and they get to look at the film as well. They get to evaluate themselves, they get to make corrections so we have to come out with the same intensity and double that. We’ve got to work ten times harder in order to get consecutive wins. If you look at the pattern, one team wins the first week and another team wins the next week. The team that won the previous week has to come into practice as if we lost the game.”

Jonathan Newsome tackles Moses Madu during the Lions 29-5 win over Ottawa on September 13th/2019. Photo: Johany Jutras.


The proud Cleveland native and product of football-mad Glenville High School is no stranger to responding to adversity. A fifth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2014, he racked up 31 defensive tackles and four forced fumbles. But then, a marijuana arrest led to his release and that’s when he migrated to Saskatchewan for the entire 2016 season before landing in the nation’s capital.

After his freshman year at Ohio State that included a Special Teams Player of the Game nod in his first start against Minnesota, off-field issues led to him leaving the campus and transferring to Ball State for his remaining three years of eligibility.

“It was like a breath of fresh air going from Ohio State to Ball State,” recalled Newsome.

“I didn’t want to leave Ohio State but being a young guy, being undisciplined and just living life, I dig myself into a hole there so I needed to give myself a fresh start in order to continue my goal of becoming a professional football future. Since then, every time I transition to somewhere else, I treat it like a new chapter and a new me. Life is a marathon. You have to continue to roll with the punches and never ever worry about the bad stuff. All the good comes with the bad. We have to enjoy the hard times because we know the good times are coming.”

And that perspective only means more now that he’s a family man. Newsome and wife Brelana are the parents to son Jaziel and are expecting their second boy, J’Breon in December. The family will be foremost in his mind when he returns to TD Place this weekend as will the chance to salute the RedBlacks fans who made him feel at home in his two-plus seasons there.

“Our first son was born there, I got married there and they gave us a second chance after I was released in Saskatchewan,” he said.

“R-Nation always supported me to the fullest. I have a love for them as well as the city of Ottawa.”

But for three hours on Saturday night, the goal will be to send them home unhappy.

Matt Baker: