Zach Collaros felt like a kid on the first day of school flying out to Riderville.
Just as the changing of a school year turns a new page, Collaros is doing the same in his CFL career joining the Riders for a rebirth. The 29-year-old started eight games in 2017 – all losses – completing 167 of 266 passes for 1,767 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions for Hamilton.
“I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t tough. I didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked, personally. As a team, we didn’t reach the goals that we had set out in the preseason. Missed the playoffs, obviously, it’s well documented we didn’t start the season off very well and I didn’t finish the season,” Collaros said.
“From a personal standpoint it was tough, but really focusing on this new chapter, this new opportunity in my career and really excited to be here in Saskatchewan.”
Naaman Roosevelt, Rob Bagg, Caleb Holley, Marcus Thigpen and two familiar targets Bakari Grant and Chad Owens are locked in to be with the Riders for 2018 or longer. Duron Carter and Nic Demski are pending free agents and getting those two back would add to the weapons for Collaros.
“There’s a lot of talent here, guys that have played at a high level in this league. As a quarterback, you kind of salivate sitting back and looking at that. Coach [Chris] Jones has done a great job here as he did in Edmonton in being able to accumulate talent,” Collaros said.
Jones was “instrumental” in bringing Collaros to the CFL which has the quarterback feeling comfortable in the rabid football town that is Regina.
“Playing the quarterback position you’re always in a fishbowl whether you like it or not you are the face of the team,” Collaros said.
Negotiations are ongoing in terms of reworking the $540,000 he’s due to make in 2018. Either way, Collaros plans on showing up and competing for the No. 1 quarterback job.
“It’s what every quarterback does,” he said. “If you don’t have the fire in your belly to play the game at a high level, you’re going to get passed up.”