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Italian DL Dalle Piagge anxious to attend CFL’s global combine

Like many Italians, Lorenzo Dalle Piagge’s life has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the Italian government imposed a nationwide lockdown — which it has since extended to April 13 — restricting travel while banning public gatherings. And with good reason as over 13,900 people in that country have died as a result of the outbreak, the highest total in the world.

The move seems to be yielding results as Italy registered its lowest death toll in over a week, fostering hope the pandemic might be reaching a plateau.

However, Dalle Piagge still can’t work as a personal trainer/strength coach because gyms are still closed. And he’s had to put his dream of playing pro football in Canada on hold.

The six-foot-four, 234-pound defensive end with the Milano Seamen was slated to attend the CFL’s national combine last month before it was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The league will hold a global combine and draft prior CFL training camps opening.

But when that will stay uncertain as the start of camps has also been postponed indefinitely.

Dalle Piagge was the lone player selected among 26 hopefuls from a CFL combine in Italy.

“It hurts [not going to CFL combine] but this is a global crisis where no one can do anything,” Dalle Piagge stated. “I’ve worked my whole life to do this but we’re all in the same situation so we must wait.

“We’re in much difficulty [in Italy] . . . my life has changed completely.”

Fortunately for Dalle Piagge, he, his parents, brother and immediate family are all well. But the outbreak is wreaking havoc with his CFL preparation.

“It’s a problem because as a strength-and-conditioning coach I prepare every step and it’s crucial to know when the combine is,” he said. “Without weights it’s a problem . . . I can only use things I have at home so I’ve completely changed my workout routines, I can only maintain my level of fitness.

But Dalle Piagge also faces restrictions regarding how far he can run. The lockdown limits him to being only up to 2,000 metres from his home in Pisa, Italy.

“I can do sprint workouts,” he said. “I do a lot of ladders, a lot of footwork.

“I do a lot of pushups, a lot of core stuff, everything I can possibly do without barbells.”

Dalle Piagge, 27, anchored a Milano defence that helped the club win three consecutive Italian league titles. Greg Quick, the CFL’s director of global scouting, said Dalle Piagge was impressive at the Italian combine.

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