The CFL season is upon us, Rider Nation, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders opener tonight! And in a whirlwind of events that took place Wednesday afternoon, the Roughriders may go from best to first.
Not best to worst, and certainly not worst to best. The gruelling 18-game season that lies ahead will be a challenge early, but improvements from an abysmal 2015 are all but assured. Can it get any worse? Okay, let’s put that behind us.
Roughriders Opener: from Best to First
Early in the day many noticed that veteran right guard Chris Best was not included on the teams 46-man roster for Thursday night’s tilt against the Toronto Argonauts.
Even before that, Best missed a couple of days of practice leading up to the home opener against those 0-1 Argos. Wednesday afternoon, amid much speculation, the club announced that Best was being placed on the six-game injury list. Here we go again, sighed every riders fan.
Guy’s the Guy
Less than one week ago, the club announced the signing of 24 year-old, 6’4 330lb, Dillon Guy out of the University of Buffalo. Guy went to camp with the B.C. Lions after being drafted by them in the 4th round with the 30th overall pick. Considered a “sleeper pick”, the Lions failed to come to terms with Guy. They released him, and the Riders quickly nabbed the free agent.
Given time to fully recover from ligament tears in his knee sustained last October and learn the pass and run blocking schemes, Guy will be playing in 2016. A national right guard, coincidentally, with a penchant for nastiness and a chip on his shoulder. The signing was a stellar move in hindsight and Guy immediately improves the Riders national depth and their strength along the offensive line. He grew up in Hamilton. He may want to play closer to home eventually, but he’s here now.
… To First
By now, we’ve all heard about the contract impasse between the Riders and Josiah St. John. Many theories and opinions have been shared on just what the Riders should do with the first overall pick in the 2016 CFL Draft. Make him sit? I guess they could seeing as they own his CFL playing rights in perpetuity. Trade him? Sure, but for what?
On Wednesday, we got our first hint of the answer. Rod Pedersen confirmed that the Riders have come to an agreement with much maligned agent Jonathan Hardaway and his client on a 3-year deal. Financial details were not disclosed. He’s a month behind schedule today and he’s got a lot of study and practice before the Riders can use him in a game. He may also have to spend most of his, reportedly smaller than originally offered, first year salary on Italian Star Deli panini’s for his teammates in an effort to say “sorry”. With all of that said, St. John is a Rider now, and Rider fans should begin to treat him with the respect and admiration they treat all of the players with.