Blake Ingleton just wants to play football.
The former Sequoyah standout wrapped up his college career as Lindsey Wilson’s all-time leading rusher last winter, and after a brief offseason stop with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, Ingleton is more determined than ever to get his professional career going.
“My immediate goal is to be established in the NFL or CFL,” Ingleton said. “Getting my foot in the door in the CFL first definitely give me more options. The NFL is definitely a goal, but I don’t see much of a difference. If that’s where my journey takes me, I’ll be happy with it.”
Ingleton started his offseason with his eyes on the NFL draft.
Coming from an NAIA school, Ingleton did his extra work preparing at Woodstock’s Fury Performance Training. Both the NFL and CFL drafts came and went without a phone call, but Ingleton got his chance May 28, when he signed with Edmonton.
“It’s been very hectic with this year being my draft class,” Ingleton said. “You start off trying to work with NFL teams, and you want to talk to the Canadian teams, too. I was just trying to make sure I stayed in as good of shape as possible, so I was ready for whatever might come next.”
Ingleton needed to be ready, too, with the Eskimo’s final preseason game coming just three days after he signed.
He said it was challenging to learn as much of the playbook as possible in that short time, but the more veteran players allowed him to be ready to play.
“You talk to people around the team,” Ingleton said. “They see things from a different perspective. The speed of the game wasn’t as fast, because I was able to get comfortable with my line and the quarterback next to me pretty quick.”
As he adjusted to the skill level and game plan around him, Ingleton was also in for a surprise when he took the field.
Ingleton played in a 1,500-seat home stadium at Lindsey Wilson — a far cry from the 33,000-seat Investor’s Group Field, where he played his preseason game.
“The environment was great,” he said. “Before the game, you warm up with about 1,000 fans. You come back out, and they have a ton of fans out there. Coming from a small school, it’s just so different. It was definitely a great moment for me. It was something I’ve waited for my whole life.”
A 19-yard rush highlighted Ingleton’s game, which ended with 19 yards on two carries, but he will have to earn his way back to another opportunity.
He was released June 8, as the team cut down to its regular season roster, and while Ingleton called his release “unfortunate,” he said he is still confident his dream of playing professional football will work out.
“They had to make room for some of the guys coming back,” he said. “They told me to hang around for a little bit while they try to get something settled. No matter what happens, I know I want to play football, and now that I’ve seen what it’s like. I’m just working to stay there.”