For the first time since high school days at Notre Dame Secondary School in Ontario, Jamaal Westerman heads to the Canadian gridiron.
The former Rutgers sack weapon joins the Canadian Football League this week after six NFL seasons. Westerman leaves for camp this week as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber.
“I would call myself very excited to continue my professional career,” he said. “The Blue Bombers are a great organization with a beautiful stadium and an amazing fan base. I felt like it was the right time for me to go. Winnipeg was the right fit for me with where I am in my career. I’m going to make Rutgers proud and make my family proud.”
“It’s just about the love and passion that I have for the game of football,” he said. “There’s nothing better than going out as a team and striving for one goal. That goal is a Grey Cup.”
Westerman used his offseason wisely with many chances to give back to his alma mater. He worked as a color analyst, and most recently emceed alumni events in Cherry Hill, N.J., and East Hannover, N.J.
“I love Rutgers and I came to Rutgers at a time where it might not have been the most popular choice,” Westerman said. “When I came, we had grass on the field. We didn’t have a JumboTron. There wasn’t the same weight room. It’s been great to see it grow and the way coach Flood is winning in the Big Ten.”
Westerman happily offered advice to the next wave of Rutgers defensive linemen during the offseason, and likely will be back in Piscataway next spring for the same reasons.
“I love the staff and the fans and respect the guys like Gary Brackett that always come back with that knowledge,” he said. “I tried to do the same thing. I’ll talk to JPO (Julian Pinnix-Odrick) a little bit or talk to Kemoko [Turay]. I’m accessible to the guys. I love to give back to Rutgers because I believe it’s a special place. When it’s done the right way, it’s going to be an amazing program.”