In this week’s
Throwback Thursday interview we sit down with
Rohan Marley, the former Miami Hurricane and son
of the late reggae artist Bob Marley. After
leading the Hurricanes with 95 tackles in his
senior season, Rohan signed with the Ottawa
Rough Riders in 1995, playing one season in the
RR: When did you decide you wanted to play
RM: It started as a child when I was watching
the Miami Dolphins play during the 1984-1985 NFL
At Miami you played along guys like Dwayne
Johnson and Ray Lewis, how were they as
It was great to see the desire that they had for
winning and it’s evident in their life today
that they continue to win.
What made you decide to come to the CFL and why
did you choose the Rough Riders?
I was ineligible for NFL draft and while on tour
with my brothers, one of my uncle’s friends
called the CFL asking for a tryout for me. I
came to the tryout not knowing it was a tryout
and was selected by the Rough Riders.
What was your first impression of Ottawa and
looking back now what are some of the things
about the city that have stuck with you through
I thought that it was a nice and green, very
friendly city with a good mixture of cultures. I
remember the Byward Market and riding my bicycle
through the city to practice, as that was my
only mode of transportation.
Why did you walk away from the game after only
Every day whether we practiced or played, once I
got home I would play soccer. After that I would
spend a lot of time reading the Bible and while
I was reading the Bible, I found that my passion
for the game started to drift away from the team
and more towards myself. I lost my passion for
tackling. The more I read the Bible, the more I
was taken away from the game.
Was there any particular reason you wore #1?
Number two wasn’t available.
Despite your small size (for a LB), you had a
reputation as a ferocious hitter. What was the
hardest hit you ever laid on someone?
There were many, but one instance that stands
out is a game against the Memphis Mad Dogs. I
remember hitting the lineman so hard, that I
knocked him out and I became discombobulated
Did you like to trash talk opponents or were you
more of a quiet player?
I don’t trash talk, I just speak my mind. If you
ask me something, I defend myself. I say it like
Were you superstitious and if so what was your
I used to spend 3 hours in my locker room
preparing my mind. There was an orange tribute
shirt with my fathers face on it that I would
wear every game. I would also write Jah
Rastafari on my socks.
How did you pump yourself up before a game?
On the way to the stadium, while riding my
bicycle, I would listen to my father’s music to
clear my mind and get peace. I would sit in the
locker room, facing my locker breathing in and
out, taking deep breaths for about 2.5 hours,
thinking about the game and my opponents.
Looking back on your career, what are you most
The friends I made.
Do you still keep in touch with any of your old
In 2009 you founded your own coffee brand, what
was that process like?
The process has been a huge learning and growing
experience. In 1999 when I bought the farm I
knew nothing about growing coffee, and from
there we’ve gone through so much – changing the
farm to organic, taking the coffee from a couple
of grocery stores to big distribution deals with
Safeway, Albertsons, Krogers, and others. After
living in Ethiopia, in 2007, I wanted to have a
global coffee company and I believe we are
getting there by choosing the right partners and
keeping true to our values.
Ads for your coffee have recently been shown at
TD Place, talk about how that came to be.
We have very strong ties to Canada through our
partnership with Mother Parkers Coffee & Tea
Company – Canada is their home base and that’s
where they produce our RealCup single serve
capsules and take us into the retail market.
Being that I played a year of football in Ottawa
for the Rough Riders, and the CEO of the company
Brent Toevs is from Canada, Marley Coffee has
very strong ties to the region. The partnership
came to be because of these relationships and
with the help of Mother Parkers.
You’re known for being very involved with
charity work, what fuels that desire?
It’s natural to give. I grew up with the habit
of giving and wanting to do more.
Would you ever consider coming back to Ottawa
and watching a Redblacks game?
Absolutely. I would love to.