Riders pursued Mike Vick for quarterback role

The Saskatchewan Roughriders made multiple overtures to former NFL star Michael Vick in an attempt to lure him to the CFL, per sources.

Riders vice-president of football operations Chris Jones reached out to the 36-year-old quarterback during the 2016 CFL season and again this winter.

“The Riders told him they wanted him over Vince Young, “a source close to Vick says. “Jones said no workout was needed because he knew what Vick could do.”

Vick, who did not play during the 2016 NFL season, ultimately decided to retire, making it official on Feb 3.

The Riders have been linked to several big-name American quarterbacks over the past several months. In February, the team signed 33-year-old Vince Young, who played with five different teams in an eight NFL seasons. Saskatchewan also worked out former Cleveland Brown Johnny Manziel and Jones was fined $5,000 for tampering (Manziel is on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats negotiation list.)

The connection to Vick came through Mike Davis, the Riders’ manager of football administration. Vick and Davis attended Virginia Tech at the same time when the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist was playing for the Hokies from 1998 to 2000.

Vick passed for 22,464 yards and 133 touchdowns during his 13 seasons with the Falcons, Eagles, Jets and Steelers. His 6,109 career rushing yards are an NFL record for a quarterback.

Vick was selected by Atlanta with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft. He made three Pro Bowl appearances with the Falcons and became the first quarterback in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, going for 1,039 in 2006 with Atlanta.

In August 2007, Vick pled guilty to dogfighting charges and served nearly two years in prison. He returned to the NFL and spent five years with Philadelphia, where he won NFL Comeback Player of the Year honours in 2010, then had backup stints with New York (2014) and Pittsburgh (2015).

Vick told ESPN in February that he was calling it a career.

“In this moment right now, I’m willing to say yeah, I’m officially retired,” Vick said. “So now I think I’m officially ready, I’m ready to move on to different things in my life and different facets of my life.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.