Jonathan Kongbo
refer to caption
Kongbo with the Blue Bombers in 2021
Personal information
Born: (1996-03-19) 19 March 1996 (age 28)
Kinshasa, Zaire
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:256 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school:Kitsilano / Holy Cross
Position:Defensive lineman
CFL Draft:2019 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
CFL status:National
Career highlights and awards
Player stats at PFR ·

Jonathan Kongbo (born 19 March 1996) is a professional gridiron football defensive lineman, who is a free agent. He most recently played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the first round with the fifth overall pick in the 2019 CFL Draft.[1] He played college football at Arizona Western and Tennessee.

College career

He was a three-sport athlete while attending Holy Cross Regional High School in Surrey, British Columbia, after transferring in grade 12 from Kitsilano Secondary. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Wyoming, where he was a redshirt in 2014 and did not play for the team.[2] Kongbo then transferred to Arizona Western College, where he was a junior college All-American in 2015 and a high-profile college prospect.[3] The following season in 2016, he played college football for Tennessee as a sophomore. His junior year was his best year, with ten games played and 29 total tackles.[4] In 2018, his senior year, he moved into the linebacker role; after six games, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at The University of Tennessee against Auburn and did not play for the rest of the season.[3][5]

Professional career

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Upon entering the CFL Draft, Kongbo was at one point ranked the number-one prospect by the Central CFL Scouting Bureau and was eventually drafted fifth overall in the 2019 CFL Draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.[2][6] He was signed by the Blue Bombers on 17 May 2019, and placed on their six-game injured list, hoping to play before the end of summer.[6][1] He played in his first career professional game on 1 August 2019, against the Toronto Argonauts.[7] In his first season, Kongbo played in 12 games, recording 12 tackles and a sack. He played in all three of the Blue Bombers' post-season games, including the 107th Grey Cup game where he won his first Grey Cup championship. Kongbo was released on 5 December 2019, as part of a pre-determined agreement to pursue National Football League opportunities.[8]

San Francisco 49ers

On 1 January 2020, Kongbo signed a reserve/future contract with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL.[9] He was waived/injured on 27 August 2020,[10] and subsequently reverted to the team's injured reserve list the next day.[11] He was waived with an injury settlement on 4 September 2020.[12]

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (II)

On 7 June 2021, it was announced that Kongbo had re-signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a one-year contract.[13] Kongbo recorded 16 tackles on defense and one more on special teams, plus 3 sacks during the shortened 14 game regular season. Kongbo also had three more tackles and another sack in the playoffs, during which the Bombers won another Grey Cup. Kongbo was released to pursue NFL opportunities after the season concluded.[14]

Denver Broncos

On 12 January 2022, Kongbo signed a reserve/future contract with the Denver Broncos of the NFL.[15] He was waived on 30 August 2022, and signed to the practice squad the next day.[16][17] He was promoted to the active roster on 6 October.[18] He was waived on 11 October and re-signed to the practice squad. He was promoted back to the active roster on 31 December.[19]

BC Lions

On 21 May 2023, it was announced that Kongbo had signed with his hometown BC Lions.[20] He was competing with four other Canadians for snaps along the defensive line; Mathieu Betts, David Menard, Joshua Archibald and first-round 2023 CFL Draft pick Francis Bemiy. There were rumours that Kongbo was not happy with his place in the depth chart and he claimed others on the team were not acting professionally. Others in the organization claimed that Kongbo quit on the team and was not a culture fit.[21]

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

On 5 June 2023, Kongo was traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2024 CFL Draft.[22] He played in all 18 regular season games where he had 15 defensive tackles and three special teams tackles. He was released in the following off-season on January 30, 2024.[23]

Personal life

Kongbo was born in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to parents Joachim and Lily and has one brother, Joel.[24][25][26] He moved to Canada when he was five years old. He also holds French citizenship.[25][26][27]


  1. ^ a b "Bombers sign fifth overall draft selection Kongbo". 17 May 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  2. ^ a b Dunk, Justin (22 October 2018). "Top ranked CFL Draft prospect, DL Jonathan Kongbo suffers season-ending knee injury". Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b Boclair, David (6 May 2019). "Kongbo willing to give it a go in Canada". Nashville Post. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  4. ^ Williford, Billy (May 2019). "NFL Draft: 5 best landing spots for former Vol Jonathan Kongbo". All For Tennessee. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  5. ^ Whiteman, Marc (15 October 2018). "Jonathan Kongbo suffers season-ending injury in win against Auburn". WATE 6 On Your Side. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  6. ^ a b Lay, Ken (29 June 2019). "VFL Jonathan Kongbo on Winnipeg's injury list". Vols Wire. USA Today. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  7. ^ Wiebe, Ken (2 August 2019). "Bombers blow 20-point lead against winless Argonauts". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Bombers release DL Jonathan Kongbo to pursue NFL opportunity". 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  9. ^ Nivison, Austin (31 December 2019). "Jonathan Kongbo announces signing with San Francisco 49ers". 247Sports. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  10. ^ "49ers Announce Roster Moves". 27 August 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  11. ^ "49ers' Jonathan Kongbo: Shifts to IR". 28 August 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Jonathan Kongbo: Waived from IR". 5 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Blue Bombers sign defensive end Jonathan Kongbo". Winnipeg Blue Bombers. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  14. ^ Friesen, Paul (12 January 2022). "Bombers' Kongbo heads south, Kolankowski stays put". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  15. ^ DiLalla, Aric (12 January 2022). "Broncos sign DE Jonathan Kongbo to future contract". Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  16. ^ DiLalla, Aric (30 August 2022). "Broncos make series of roster moves to reach 53-player limit". Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  17. ^ DiLalla, Aric (31 August 2022). "Josh Johnson, Kendall Hinton among 13 players signed to Broncos' practice squad". Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  18. ^ DiLalla, Aric (6 October 2022). "Broncos promote OLB Jonathan Kongbo to active roster, elevate S Anthony Harris and RB Devine Ozigbo ahead of Week 5 game vs. Colts". Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  19. ^ Swanson, Ben (31 December 2022). "Broncos promote CB Lamar Jackson, OLB Jonathan Kongbo to active roster, place OLB Randy Gregory on injured reserve". Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  20. ^ "Lions Sign National DL Kongbo, Release Lemon & Herdman-Reed". BC Lions. 21 May 2023. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  21. ^ "Neil McEvoy: B.C. Lions' culture clash with Jonathan Kongbo was 'missed opportunity'". 3DownNation. 6 June 2023. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  22. ^ "Tiger-Cats acquire national defensive lineman Kongbo from BC". Hamilton Tiger-Cats. 5 June 2023. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  23. ^ "Transactions – Football player trades and signings". Canadian Football League. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  24. ^ Wiebe, Ken (30 July 2019). "Bombshells: Kongbo set for CFL debut … LaPolice not concerned about Blue Bombers offence … Gaitor, Wolitarsky are in". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  25. ^ a b Beamish, Mike (3 February 2016). "Surrey's unintentional football star Jonathan Kongbo back on course for Tennessee". The Province. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  26. ^ a b "Jonathan Kongbo Biography". Wyoming Cowboys Athletics. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  27. ^ Tait, Ed (30 July 2019). "Kongo healthy, ready to step in". Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Retrieved 30 November 2019.