Defensive assignments: former CFL players join Edmonton police

Two former CFL players who once stared each other down from opposite sides of the football field are now on the same team and preparing for their next defensive assignment.

Elie Ngoyi and Yannick Carter, who have three Grey Cup rings between them, were among 22 new recruits to the Edmonton Police Service.

Carter, a linebacker, was a member of the championship-winning Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2007 and was also a member of the Grey Cup-winning Calgary Stampeders of 2014. During Elie Ngoyi’s four years with the Edmonton Eskimos, the team won the Grey Cup in 2015.

Chief Dale McFee salutes Yannick Carter at a graduation ceremony for new police recruits at Edmonton city hall. (Manuel Carrillos Avalos/CBC)

“It’s the commitment level that you have to make as an individual,” Carter said following Friday’s graduation ceremony at city hall.

“The stakes are exponentially higher within the police service.”

Battle of Alberta 

The fabled battle of Alberta even managed to slip into police training when Carter was regularly pitted against Ngoyi, a former Edmonton defensive end, during fitness tests.  

“It was always a fun competition between Ngoyi and I,” Carter said.  

But the lighthearted rivalry was incidental to the real work of making the EPS ranks alongside his fellow recruits.

Elie Ngoyi was a defensive end for the Edmonton Eskimos for four seasons, including a Grey Cup win in 2015, before pursuing a career in law enforcement. (Manuel Carrillos Avalos/CBC)

“We were fighting for one common goal and, at the end of the day, we wanted to make sure that we as a class succeeded,” said Carter, who moved to Edmonton after having a child with his partner.  

Ngoyi said it was a “big change” to put on the EPS uniform but noted that it has the same significance as a football jersey — loyalty to a team.

“This time I’ll be joining the EPS,” said Ngoyi, who spent four seasons playing in Edmonton.

From the competitive training camp to the selection process, he also noted the similarities between his former and future career.

“You’re selected. You don’t get to decide if you’re going to be a police officer or play professional football,” he said. 

Ngoyi worked as a corrections officer at the Edmonton Remand Centre after leaving the CFL, but said policing has been a lifelong aspiration.

While his parents live in Calgary, he said Edmonton was his top choice.

“Edmonton has been my town from day one since I moved to Alberta,” he said.

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