Riders Chad Owens returns to Toronto looking to knock out the Argos

Once the face of the Argonauts franchise, Saskatchewan Roughrider and former Ticat Chad Owens will return to Toronto this weekend to try and knock his old team from the playoffs – and punch his own ticket to the Grey Cup.

The receiver and kick returner spent six seasons with the Argos and was often front-and-centre in the team’s marketing efforts, making countless public and charitable appearances while gracing the cover of the 2013 media guide.

He also played some spectacular football, wining the league’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2012 while setting a new CFL record for all-purpose yards in a season while helping the Argonauts win the Grey Cup on home turf. He’s been a league all-star four times and won two titles.

But the Argonauts let him walk as a free agent before the 2016 season, a decision he later admitted stung given his contributions to the franchise. He signed with rival Hamilton and had an excellent season before breaking his foot, then joined the Riders last winter and has slowly worked his way into the line up. He had one catch for 16 yards and another carry for 19 in Saskatchewan’s 31-20 Eastern Semi-Final win over the Ottawa Redblacks last Sunday.

Now 35, Owens has heard the doubters say he’s too old to contribute, to go along with those who were unsure a 5-foot-8 guy could succeed in pro football.

“Any time you’re an underdog, there’s added motivation. It’s an up and down thing but that’s been my life,” Owens said after Sunday’s win. “The main thing is that you enjoy the ride, you enjoy the ups and work harder than you ever have throughout the downs.”

Coming back to Toronto won’t carry the same emotional weight as it did last June, when he returned to face his old team for the opening game at BMO Field wearing Ticat black and gold. He made six catches for 67 yards and scored a touchdown.

“Last year I played with emotion and I’m always going to do that but this year I feel like I’m in much more of a relaxed state,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of new guys but there’s still a few guys there that I played with so you never lose those relationships.”

Former general manager Jim Barker and head coach Scott Milanovich – the two men at the helm when Owens was allowed to walk – are gone, replaced by new GM Jim Popp and coach Marc Trestman. They had Owens briefly in Montreal at the start of his CFL journey and Trestman has always been a fan.

“I’ve kept up with him throughout his career,” Trestman said. “He’s another guy that adds value to their team offensively.”

The Argonauts held a light practice on Sunday, then Trestman joined some of his fellow coaches and players to watch the tail end of Saskatchewan’s win. Toronto lost both games to the Riders this season but Trestman said both teams have improved since then.

“We view them as one of the most athletically talented teams in the league and they have a veteran quarterback in Kevin Glenn that we have tremendous respect for,” Trestman said. “We’ve been playing playoff football for a month in some regard. I’m confident we’ll come into Sunday as a confident, well-prepared team. That’s our expectation.”

Owens’ family remained behind in Mississauga this season and it’s expected he’ll eventually return to the Toronto area once his playing days are done, though he is under contract for next season. He clearly still has a soft spot for the franchise that helped launched him to stardom and seems mystified by their continued struggle for relevance.

“They’re getting the players out in the public, out at Leafs games, Raptors games, they’re trying to get the city to back them. But I don’t know what the issue is. I really wish they had the support because they have the people there,” he said. “We won the Grey Cup in 2012 that didn’t change much. New stadium didn’t make a difference. I don’t know what it’s going to take. But they need to get that city backing the Toronto Argonauts.”

Could Owens, still one of the franchises’ most recognizable faces be a part of the solution at some point? He demurs.

“I just want to see the league healthy, I don’t know what my future is,” Owens said. “Right now I’m just focussed on winning a Grey Cup.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1161 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

27 Comments on Riders Chad Owens returns to Toronto looking to knock out the Argos

  1. He was originally a Stamp recruit. Cut in camp

    • I guess your statement shows how badly Calgary mishandles top-notch talent. Yikes, glad he’s in Saskatchewan. Just wondering if you’re still worried about the upcoming game in Calgary?

      • Well Greenrider89 with limited rosters and nothing but young quality recruits brough into stamps camp year after year, some hard choices have to be made. You can’t keep everyone. Unless you’re Chris Jones and your IR is just as a player grab from week to week.
        Yes Edmonton worries me but I still have confidence in Calgary

        • The Stamps were good, but this is 12-13 years ago. Come now, horsee, they weren’t that good back then. Edmonton and B.C. were the top teams in the early-2000’s. I would have to check the record books, but Calgary was competing with Saskatchewan in the early parts of the new century. Was it a slip? I think so.

          And I’m glad you have confidence in Calgary. Personally, I hope it’s a Saskatchewan/Calgary Grey Cup. But Edmonton and Toronto both concern me.

  2. Chad Owens actually said he is looking forward to ‘knock out’ the Argos , highly doubt Chad said that !

    • The article states “Chad Owens will return to Toronto this weekend to try and knock his old team from the playoffs – and punch his own ticket to the Grey Cup”
      It was not a quote from Chad Owens

  3. Gonna be a very physical game. Once the game starts Owens will be amped to beat his former team. The franchise who have up on him

  4. Owens was quoted in Pederson’s column a few days back that this is a better team than the 2 Grey Cup teams he was on – a little bitterness still lingers I’d say. But I’m sure that goes both ways. Lemon is back healthy & we all know he’s Jones’ biggest fan. I kinda think Chamblain will be up for this one as well.

    • What do you expect him to say? “this team is not as good as the 2 previous” ???
      The Argos are vastly overrated and the Riders will have no problem disposing of them

      • I would expect him to say that he was only on one Grey Cup team – the 2012 Argos.

        He only played 1 game with the 2009 Als.

      • You ever heard of James Wilder? “Vastly overrated”. You’re a dumbass.

        • So what about James Wilder Jr? He’s one player on the Argos. Ever heard ofBo Kevi Mitchell? Same crap different team. One dude does not win the game. Thigpen is going the same thing on SK as Wilder does on Toronto.
          The difference will be who keeps their composure and protects the ball the best.

  5. We miss him

  6. Hope CO2 has a good game , he did have a couple drops in the Ottawa game and that is concerning, in that Holley and his breakaway speed is sitting so that CO plays. I understand the decision favoring Owens big game experience and Owens still has the ability to make big plays. Just hope that CO has a good game so we as fans don’t start second guessing coach Jones decision to play the vet.

  7. Good to see he is still playing with fire and contributing. Barker should never have let him go (reminds me a bit of Cahill dropping Profit) – a consummate pro, on and off the field.

  8. Riders big underdogs in this game, no question, for a bunch of reasons..

    • E.Einstien IV // November 14, 2017 at 5:35 am // Reply

      I don’t think the Riders are big underdogs in this game. Best to look at the odds makers before making such bold statements. Just like SK was in Ottawa. They find them self the underdogs by a whole 1.5 points.
      WOW… Those odds are so big they scare me. Anybody looking to make a buck would be remiss not to take SK in this game. They seem to be quietly riding an extremely dark horse.

    • Such as?
      I think these teams are evenly matched and this one could go either way.

  9. Colour me green // November 13, 2017 at 11:54 pm // Reply

    I didn’t know this article was about Calgary.
    Really!!

  10. I agree Franz, he has been money down the stretch, was inserted into the lineup at just the right time. Time for a storybook ending for he and Kevin Glenn! Goooooo Riders!!!

  11. Looking forward to some classic CFL football this weekend.GO ARGOS!

  12. Should be a good one. Are you or anyone you know attending the game?

  13. Argos will be a hand-full. Don’t get too mouthy about it, people. Any team coached by Trestman will be more than prepped, especially after doing a full tape-scan of the Rider vs. Ottawa game. Like usual, it will be a battle of the big guys. If the green ones are better, the green guys win. If the blue guys are better, the blue guys win. Pretty simple.

    • Baldy, I agree with you. I’ve tempered my celebration until I see it. Toronto roared over the Lions in the final week of the season. If you don’t think they’re beaming with confidence, you’re not a football fan. This is the team that has the talent and coaching to win a Grey Cup. And the Roughriders better be ready for the Argos. I’ve said that right from the outset of the playoffs. Top defensive front seven in the league, one of the finest running backs the CFL has seen in some time and one of the top HOF quarterbacks — Yikes, the Argos have a lot to contend with. Go, Riders!!!

  14. greenrider89…wrong on the best front seven in the league. Stamps hold that distinction. Tied with Argos in sacks. Best linebackers in the league. Singleton, Thurman, Richardson. Best defense against the run. Stamps have more than 100 points scored less against them than the next closest team. Stamps big strength all season is their defense.

  15. This is awsome. No one knows how these games will go. Regular season stats mean $#!7 now.

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