Congratulations to former Gryphon linebacker Curtis Rukavina on being hired by the Buffalo Bills!
Rukavina is the third Gryphon to land an NFL job, joining Thomas Dimitroff Jr. [General Manager, Atlanta Falcons] and Chris Rossetti [Pro Scout, Miami Dolphins].
From BuffaloBills.com …
Buffalo’s front office was busy again on Friday filling out their pro and college scouting departments. The club announced the hirings of five scouts.
… hired as a Pro Scout was Curtis Rukavina, who most recently worked for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League as their Director of Player Personnel.
Rukavina’s rise from assistant linebacker coach for the Gryphons to NFL Scout has been a fast one. It has been less than 3 years since the Toronto Argonauts plucked him off the Guelph sidelines in the middle of the 2014 season and gave him his first full-time football job.
Justin Dunk has the most thorough story on Rukavina and his rise through the football ranks on the 3Down Nation blog – On the rise: Canadian scout Curtis Rukavina jumps from Argos to Bills.
Just a couple of the highlights …
After graduating, Rukavina was coaching at Guelph in 2014 when an opportunity came about with the Toronto Argonauts. As Rukavina was helping prepare the defensive game plan in the bowels of Alumni Stadium the week of Guelph’s homecoming game against Queen’s that season, his phone started ringing with an old teammate turned scout on the other line. Chris Rossetti, who was the Argos director of player personnel at the time, said there was an opening in the scouting department and Rukavina would have to start now.
Rossetti: “Are you in?”
Rukavina told then-Guelph defensive coordinator Kevin MacNeill about the position he had been offered and it was off to Toronto for the coming Monday where Rukavina began his pro football scouting ascent.
Rukavina was clearly fast tracking, he had been in the CFL for a year and a half and already earned lots of responsibility from a four-time Grey Cup champion football man in Barker. As Rukavina was moving up quickly in Toronto’s front office, he was doing the same in the minds of scouting connections he had developed in the NFL. After the 2017 NFL draft, Buffalo let go pretty much their entire scouting staff, which created openings.
“It sparked with Rossetti planting the seed for me,” Rukavina says.
New Bills general manager Brandon Beane called Argos counterpart Jim Popp in May asking for permission to interview Rukavina. Afterward, he went down to Buffalo for an interview for a pro scout position.
“I talked to people about what to expect so I would be prepared. I met with Beane, Joe Schoen [Bills assistant GM] and Brian Gaine [Bills vice president of player personnel] individually,” Rukavina explains.
The same day Rukavina interviewed, he was outside watching the team go through organized training activities at the Bills practice facility when Beane walked up beside him and asked: “Are you in?”
Rukavina responded: “Heck ya! Let’s do it.”