November 14, 2023

Roughriders’ Derrick Moncrief received an award for giving back

On or off the football field, you are liable to find Derrick Moncrief in several places. 

As a member of the 2023 Saskatchewan Roughriders, Moncrief started at three different positions — cover linebacker, defensive halfback and safety. 

In and around Saskatchewan, he was also here, there and everywhere, meeting with fans in his amicable fashion. 

Those efforts were recognized late in the season when he became the latest recipient of the Mosaic Community Player of the Year award. 

“That was very cool for me,” says Moncrief, 30, a year-round Reginan who grew up in Prattville, Ala. 

“Just coming from a small community where I was around my dad a lot and seeing him do stuff like that, I always was inspired to help people out. “Winning that award, it was about everything beyond football.” 

The presentation was made during a year in which non-football matters became even more important. 

On July 1, Moncrief and his wife, Kasia, welcomed their first child, Minnie. 

Even with a newborn daughter in the picture, Moncrief still found time to interact with fans and families across the province. 

“It’s all about balance,” he says. “I couldn’t do any of this without God, first and foremost, and my beautiful wife is also understanding of my time and the things that I want to do, particularly off the field.” 

For example, Moncrief was among the players who devoted time to a backpack drive that helped youngsters during back-to-school time. 

He also worked closely with the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, shooting a promotional video with a young fan named Blaze Dunn — the ambassador for the Roughrider & Children’s Hospital Foundations Lottery. 

“Blaze is such a wonderful kid,” Moncrief says. “He gave me so much energy and so much positive strength.

In that spirit, Moncrief has also been a tireless supporter of the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan. 

Moncrief designated the LDAC as the recipient of the $10,000 that The Mosaic Company allocates to the winner of the community award. Each year, the winner donates the money to a charity or non-profit organization of his choosing. 

“In the third or fourth grade, I was diagnosed with a learning disability where I had to take medication just to be able to concentrate in class and to make my grades better,” Moncrief recalls. 

“It started there and then, when I got this award, I was able to select the non-profit organization of my choice. I really thought about that and came up with Learning Disabilities of Saskatchewan to try to give back.  

“Look at my story now. Many people said I wasn’t going to be able to pass school and do great things. I’m proof of what God can do and of what self-belief can do, along with hard work.” 

Moncrief was able to overcome the learning disability and eventually play NCAA football before spending time in the pro ranks with the Roughriders, Edmonton Elks and Los Angeles Rams. 

“I could have gone to the University of Alabama, but I didn’t make the grades, so I had to go to junior college,” Moncrief says. “After junior college, I went to Oklahoma State and made the Dean’s List. 

“That shows you right there what hard work can do. You’ve just got to believe in yourself and put the extra work in.”