Joel Figueroa

You know his best as number 61 in orange; a hulking offensive lineman you can always count on in the pass protection game. But Joel Figueroa is one of the coolest guys you’d ever meet. Entering his third year with BC Lions, Fig has established himself as one of the better leaders and overall funny characters in a locker room that certainly has a few great personalities. The former Miami Hurricanes standout is also very proud of his Puerto Rican heritage. With more details, we present 5 Things To Know about Joel Figueroa.

Fig Is The Lions’ Back-T0-Back Most Outstanding Lineman

Fig has certainly lived up to the billing since GM Ed Hervey made him a priority in the early hours of 2018 free agency. Suiting up in 34 games over the last two seasons, Fig has been a steady force at the left tackle position resulting in back-to-back team nominations for CFL Most Outstanding Lineman. On a position group that has certainly taken its share of criticism, Figueroa gives the big men up front something to model themselves after.

Fig isn't just a beast on the offensive line! In the latest of our 5 Things To Know series, we take a look at left tackle Joel Figueroa.

Photo: Johany Jutras

He Has Knocked On The Grey Cup Door Twice

As a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Figueroa made it to the Grey Cup game in 2013 and 2014, coming up short in both years. The 2014 loss to Calgary at BC  Place probably stung a bit more considering a Brandon Banks go ahead punt return touchdown in the final minutes was called back. At any rate, Fig has the big-game experience and the fact he got close twice early in his career no doubt adds fuel to the fire in his pursuit of a Grey Cup championship with the Lions.

A Proud Product of ‘The U.’

Some of that big-game experience we mention comes from playing at a prestigious college program. Figueroa spent five seasons (2006-11) with his hometown Miami Hurricanes and suited up in 43 games.  As a junior in 2009, he helped the Hurricanes record 5,199 yards of total offence, just the eighth time in school history they eclipsed the 5,000-yard plateau. Fig was also a double major at Miami, earning degrees in Sociology and Geography. Before migrating north to Hamilton, he attended a mini-camp with the Miami Dolphins.

Fig isn't just a beast on the offensive line! In the latest of our 5 Things To Know series, we take a look at left tackle Joel Figueroa.

Proud Of His Heritage

Fig is the son of Puerto Rican immigrants and the pride he takes in his heritage is a big reason he believes in giving back to the community. Along with winning the Community Service Man of the Year while he was at Miami, Fig has always devoted time to encouraging young Puerto Ricans to pursue their football dreams.

“It’s where I came from. It’s my culture, it’s my family, it’s everything I know,” said Fig of his background.

“Not a lot of Puerto Ricans watch football but we play all the sports. I think this (pro football) is important. It will be another step for us.”

Fig Loves Salsa Music

Like many kids with Puerto Rican heritage that grew up in Miami, Fig fell in love with salsa music and still considers that his favourite genre. He lists fellow Puerto Rican Hector Lavoe as his all-time favourite musical artist. Next time we see Fig, we may need to ask him to test his own salsa skills. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get up and dance with a big offensive lineman leading the way?