May 25, 2023

48-Hour Primer | May 27 vs Edmonton

Two snapshots from last year, exactly one week apart, that perfectly captured Carlton Agudosi’s 2022 season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers while also serving as a reminder of just how football can be such a cruel business.

The first came July 15, 2022, in Agudosi’s Blue Bombers and Canadian Football League debut when the 6-6 receiver pulled in six passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-19 home win over the Calgary Stampeders in what was a jaw-dropping, eye-popping effort.
And the second came seven days later in Edmonton when the big man was felled by an ankle injury that ended his season.

“I just got rolled up on and got my feet caught up,” began Agudosi in a chat with on Thursday. “I just remember turning around and the ankle didn’t want to come with me. We went to the sideline, and it looked like there was a grapefruit in there.

“That moment defined last year for me. Looking back at it, it was a great learning opportunity for me. And going back there… mentally I’m ready to go and I’m excited to get redemption.”

Agudosi is expected to be in the lineup Saturday for the Blue Bombers first preseason game against the Elks. He’s been one of the standouts from the start of rookie camp, continually making acrobatic catches in traffic and making for hellish days for defensive backs.

Asked if he might take a moment in Saturday’s pre-game to walk to the spot at Commonwealth Stadium where his injury happened and his season ended – as some athletes occasionally do as a way of breaking through a potential mental barrier– Agudosi thought for a moment and added: “Now that you said that that’s a good idea. I’m definitely excited to own it. I have no fear. The worst things have happened to me. I have no fear, no execution. I’m ready to go out there and execute the gameplan.

“I’ll be out there with a fresh mind and ready to dominate.”

Agudosi occasionally talks in proclamations like that. It comes as his own self-motivation and belief and as an affirmation of the work he puts in daily. There’s also a fire in the man’s eyes that has been there he suffered the injury last July, and after giving himself the requisite 48-hour period to do the ‘why me?’ thing.

“And then after reflecting on it – I’m a God-fearing man – so after having that high and then that low there was something I had to look at inside and ask, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” he said. “I made a decision — I know I can play this game. I executed in that first game, and I know I can do it so now I have to start preparing for next year. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 10 months. I took what happened and tried then to become the best version of myself.

“Mental toughness and knowing that all great people go through things like this. Nothing is bad – it’s all about the label you put on it. All throughout history the greatest people who have walked this earth have overcome tragedy and traumatic experiences and it really defines who you are.”

Who Agudosi is as a man isn’t in doubt in Bomberland. What he’s attempting to do now is find a place in a stacked receiving corps that features Kenny Lawler, Dalton Schoen, Nic Demski, Rasheed Bailey and Drew Wolitarsky.

“I’ve had to earn everything in my career,” said Agudosi, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 after he played his college days at Rutgers. “I’ve never been considered the best person on any team I’ve ever been on. I believe in hard work and attitude. In order to be prepared and be that best version of yourself you have to be prepared.

“I definitely believe in order to be great you have to see great. I’ve been fortunate. My first year as a pro in Arizona I saw Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Peterson, Carson Palmer, Tyrann Mathieu… to see that as a rookie was important for me. Then being here in Winnipeg… look at all the greatness around here. We have some of the greatest players to ever play in CFL history. That was example from God – he keeps putting me around all these great athletes because he wants me to see what it looks like.”

Embracing the grind is a theme in these parts and Agudosi has earned a reputation within the organization’s walls as a tireless worker. And he’s got more than a few teammates hoping he can now stay healthy and show the rest of the CFL what he did in those four quarters against Calgary last summer.

The passion and motivation part, well, he’s absolutely crushing that.

“What keeps me at it? My family and my community back at home, a lot of the kids I work with back in my hometown,” he said. “I picture them every time before I go on the field. It’s bigger than me. If it was just me, I might have been done a long time ago, but I think this is bigger than me.

“I have high expectations of myself and the 10-year-old version of myself would want me to come out here and dominate. This is a dream come true to be a professional athlete, so there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself. The minute I start feeling sorry for myself I envision the younger version of myself talking to me and he would be, ‘Are you kidding me right now? Get back out there.’ That’s the mental attitude I take.”