Linebacker Celestin Added To Pirates Defense

By: Oliver Nissi
Pirates Insider
February 8, 2021

WORCESTER, MA. — The Massachusetts Pirates have announced the signing of linebacker Jonathan Celestin. A native of Jonesboro, Georgia, Celestin previously played in the XFL for the D.C. Defenders in 2020, where he recorded 32 tackles and 3 tackles for loss in 5 games. He also had a special teams touchdown.

Celestin led the Falcons with 21.5 tackles during the 2018 NFL Preseason

Celestin spoke with and feels grateful to have another opportunity to play professional football with Massachusetts.

“I love this game and I can’t wait to show my talents off with the Pirates. Hopefully this opportunity will get me back to playing in the NFL or CFL.”

Celestin (6’0”, 230 lbs.) comes to the Pirates having spent time with several NFL teams. After going undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, Celestin signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in July 2018. He was then released by the Falcons in September 2018.

Celestin got his second crack in the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers, when he was signed to their practice squad in November 2018. He spent two weeks with the Chargers before being released. In December 2018, Celestin was signed to the New York Jets practice squad. He spent the rest of the season on the Jets practice squad before being released.

Celestin’s final stint in the NFL came with the Carolina Panthers in January 2019, when he signed a futures contract with the organization. In August 2019, the Panthers placed Celestin on injured reserve.

Pirates president and general manager Jawad Yatim sees Celestin as a great fit.

“In my opinion John is explosive, has great feet, plays well in space, a true sideline to sideline linebacker and will be able to play multiple positions for us. From all accounts he’s a great kid as well. Glad to add him to our organization.”

Celestin spent his college football career at the University of Minnesota. In four seasons on the field (2014-17), he played in 49 total games and recorded 217 total tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss. In his junior and senior seasons, he started 22 of 25 games and finished second on the team in tackles in both seasons.

Celestin was named team captain in his senior year. By season’s end, he received Minnesota’s Carl Eller Award for the team’s most outstanding defensive player. He was also named Minnesota’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. As a sophomore and junior, Celestin was named Academic All-Big Ten.

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