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Great Concordian: René Paredes, all-star placekicker

‘My advice to athletes is to work hard, be humble and be patient’
July 3, 2024
By Ian Harrison, BComm 01

A man with short dark hair is wearing a red football jersey with white stripes on the shoulders and is standing in front of a light grey background A two-time Grey Cup champion with the Stampeders, René Paredes has been named a CFL all-star six times.

At the heart of every exceptional placekicker is an ability to zero in and deliver under the most intense pressure.

Enter René Paredes, BA 12, of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.

A former standout kicker for the Concordia Stingers, Paredes has put together the kind of professional career that will earn him first-ballot Hall of Fame consideration upon retirement.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised in the West Island suburbs of Montreal, Paredes quickly caught the attention of CFL scouts as a varsity athlete studying in Concordia’s Department of Applied Human Sciences.

“He can easily compete with most CFL kickers,” said Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath, a former CFL kicker himself, at the time. “He is technically strong, extremely consistent and has a great mental ability to focus and block out any distractions.”

Throughout his career, most of it with Calgary, Paredes has indeed showcased a remarkable blend of skill and consistency. He led the CFL in field-goal percentage as a rookie and, at the age of 38 and in his 12th season with Calgary, led all kickers with 52 field goals in 2023.

A two-time Grey Cup champion with the Stampeders, Paredes has been named a CFL all-star six times. In a remarkable stretch of the 2013 season, he achieved a new league record with 39 consecutive field goals. What’s more, he connected on 94.7 percent of his field-goal attempts, also a league record, and led the league in field goals made, points and converts.

In 2022, Paredes once again led all CFL kickers in points. He ranks second all-time on Calgary’s points scored list and became only the eighth CFL player with more than 500 career field goals in 2023.

Beyond the gridiron, Paredes has his sights set on a career with the Calgary Fire Department after he retires from the CFL.

When you reflect on your time as a Concordia student, what stands out?

René Paredes: Just the camaraderie of being part of the Stingers. There’s nothing like the feeling of being on a team and working together to achieve a common goal. It’s one of the things that made me want to be a firefighter after I retire from football.

What are some of the factors that have enabled your success?

RP: The ability to keep calm is important for a kicker. It takes a lot of hard work and a good support network to maintain that focus. At Calgary, which has a such a strong culture of winning, I’ve been blessed with incredible coaches and trainers who have been with me for more than a decade now. That kind of consistency is key.

It also helps to have a good home life, and I’m very grateful to have that with my wife and our two sons.

What advice do you have for students who may want to follow in your footsteps?

RP: My advice to student athletes, in particular, is to work hard, be humble and be patient. But I think those are qualities that will serve anyone well in life, no matter what the career.

I’m a big believer in working hard and trusting the process, trusting that it will pay off. Sometimes it just takes time.

How does it feel to be a Great Concordian?

RP: It feels great. It’s very cool and very humbling. When I read that I was being honoured as a Great Concordian, I wasn’t sure if it was real at first! I had to actually go back and check — and then I told my wife right away.

Take pride in our Great Concordians!

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