You know what they say about home.
“Home is where you made your favorite moments; where you felt the most comfort and peace,” Emily Loyola said.
This really rings true for former Carleton Ravens football player, Nate Behar. After spending two seasons playing for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL), Behar is now heading back to his old stomping grounds of Ottawa, where he will suit up for the Ottawa Redblacks in the 2019-20 season.
“Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I think I’m really, really excited. It was kind of a hope and dream for me. But I’m pretty geeked up to get a shot, and its going to be awesome to play in the stadium I’ve played in so many times before and have such great memories in,” Behar said about having the opportunity to play for the Redblacks.
Like many young boys, Behar was put into the sport of football due to being such a high energy child. However, what started out as a child enjoying football, he quickly became a professional CFL player.
“My mom put me in football when I was, I think, six or seven in the in the London Minor Football Association (LMFA). I was a young one, and now that I think back, I remember being too young to legally play, but here we are anyways,” Behar said about his start in football.
“I took a couple years off, I didn’t play every year, I didn’t play when I was nine, and again when I was 11 or 12, but I’ve been playing pretty much every single year since I started,” he added.
Known for being a wide receiver, Behar didn’t start out in that position when he began.
“So, I played running back as a kid all the way up until I was twelve or thirteen, and then I played quarterback for a couple of years. And then I didn’t start playing receiver until grade 11,” Behar said.
Growing up in London, Ontario, Behar played high school football at the London Central Secondary School. Due to him not committing to the hometown Western University Mustangs, his family and friends left him with some parting words when he committed to the Ravens.
“I committed to Carleton over Western, and they always said to me that I’m never going to beat Western, like my team’s never going to be good enough, and that it was a big mistake,” Behar said.
Behar joined the Ravens in the 2013-14 season, the same season the Ravens football program came back into the league.
“It was just the opportunity. The start of a new program, our year was the first year we had a team in over a decade. And it was an exciting opportunity. I mean, you don’t get to start things up from the ground up too often, so it really grabbed me, I loved the coaches, I loved the staff we had, and I was ready for the ride,” Behar said.
During his time at Carleton, Behar played in 30 games, while recording 178 reception, catching for 2,577 yards, and notching 21 touchdowns.
“I think the Panda threepeat is up there. Three in a row there, especially with Ottawa being a good team. You know, that threepeat was awesome, winning three in a row, and then also getting to beat Western in my last year, I mean, I wish we would have played them a little better in the playoffs when we faced them, but to beat them at home was a good feeling,” Behar said about his most memorable moments as a Raven.
Throughout his tenure, Behar also took part in four Panda Games – the annual football game between the Carleton and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
In the 2014-15 Panda Game, the Ravens won the Panda Game by a score of 33-31, when Behar made a last second 55-yard touchdown catch, which is commonly known as the Hail Mary.
“It was pretty surreal. That first year at TD place was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before on a sporting field. It was surreal, it was crazy having everybody rush the field and stuff like that, and something that I won’t forget,” Behar said about his most memorable Panda Game.
Following his stint at Carleton, Behar was drafted fifth overall in the 2017 CFL Draft. He then signed with the Eskimos on June 21, 2017.
“It was a really exciting time, it was a fun experience, it’s a pretty strange experience sitting and watching tv waiting for your phone to ring, but I was really happy with how everything went, it was a blast,” Behar said.
While on Edmonton, Behar played in 30 games, while recording 27 receptions, catching for 257 yards, and notching one touchdown.
He caught his first CFL pass on June 14, 2018, against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and then he recorded his first CFL touchdown on August 9, 2018.
“Finally, kind of. It was a relief to finally get those out of the way. Really more than anything it was just exciting to finally get that out of the way and move past it, but I was excited for more to come,” Behar said.
While pro football has brought many challenges for Behar, such as injuries, and competing to step out onto the field, Behar believes that he has grown as a player and as a person due to these challenges.
“I’ve become more patient for sure. Football is a great way of bringing people together from all different walks of life, and it gives you a lot of perspective. You never know where someone’s coming from, where they’ve been, and it really does give you that appreciation for how everyone’s lives is different, and it allows us to come together to play a sport we all love, so, it’s a great feeling,” Behar said.
As for the future, Behar hopes he can keep being effective enough on the field so that he can keep playing the sport that he loves.
“Keep going as long as possible, that’s always the goal,” Behar said.
“You know, keep playing as long as possible, stay healthy, and stay effective enough, and if people want to keep giving me contracts, I’ll keep on going.”