Two seasons into his pro football career, Jonathan Kongbo is already a two-time CFL champion.
On Sunday (Dec. 12) in Hamilton, the Surrey-raised athlete won his second Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who topped the home-town Tiger Cats in an overtime thriller, 33-25.
”WE CAME, WE SAW, WE CONQUERED!” Kongbo, a defensive end, posted on Twitter, along with post-game celebration photos.
Kongbo, 25, and the Blue Bombers also won the Grey Cup in 2019, a year before the pandemic cancelled the 2020 CFL championship game.
In 14 games this season, the six-foot-five Kongbo recorded 17 tackles and three sacks.
A graduate of Holy Cross Regional High School in Surrey, Kongbo played as a rookie for the Bombers during the 2019 season, after being selected fifth overall in the CFL Draft of 2019. In early December of that year, Kongbo was released by the Blue Bombers so he could pursue NFL opportunities, and later signed a contract with San Francisco 49ers.
But Kongbo eventually returned to Winnipeg, and won another Grey Cup this year.
Kongbo overcame a serious injury at the start of the CFL season to play for the Bombers. With the Tennessee Volunteers of the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference (SEC), the hulking “King” Kongbo tore the ACL in his right knee during a game against Auburn in October of 2018, ending his senior season and, ultimately, his dream of being drafted by an NFL team.
While at Holy Cross, Kongbo was something of an accidental football star – a guy who hadn’t played the game until Grade 12 at the Fleetwood-area Catholic school. He’d been a basketball player at Kitsilano Secondary until transferring to Holy Cross, where the Crusaders’ coaches eventually coaxed him to try football, a game he didn’t embrace at first but grew to love.
From Holy Cross he went to junior college in Wyoming and Arizona Western before joining the Vols in Tennessee, where he played prime-time games against some of the biggest-name teams in college football – Alabama Crimson Tide, Georgia Bulldogs, LSU Tigers and the like.