Riders receiver Naaman Roosevelt nearly signed with the Bombers

Naaman Roosevelt thought about joining the Saskatchewan Roughriders biggest rival during his time as a free agent.

“There were a lot of talks going on about being a Bomber and talking to the staff and GM over there. I just felt like going back to the Riders was something I felt in my heart,” Roosevelt said on CJME The Green Zone with Jamie Nye.

“I was just trying to see all my options and make the right decision. I just thought talking to other teams and back to the Riders, I just felt like that was the best decision. Go back to a place I’m familiar with and a place that has been my second home for me.”

Roosevelt has played all four of his CFL seasons in Regina after playing in 16 games over two seasons with the Buffalo Bills making 25 catches for 396 yards and one touchdown. He spent the 2013 year with the Cleveland Browns.

The University of Buffalo product originally signed with Saskatchewan in 2015. Roosevelt has recorded 224 receptions for 3,188 yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s known as ‘The President’ in the prairie province.

“For me I just felt like being a Rider, playing in that stadium, being part of that was something I really wanted to continue to do,” Roosevelt said.

Even though Chris Jones left for the Browns, Roosevelt likes the fact there weren’t mass changes among the coaches.

“I was happy about not having a whole new staff, Coach Dickie he is one of the greatest guys you can meet in football with his personality and what type of coach he is. I wanted to be a part of that,” Roosevelt said.

General manager Jeremy O’Day clearly has the respect of Roosevelt.

“Especially with J.O. still being there, a guy that got me to Saskatchewan and got me opportunities to play with the Riders. I just felt like it was the right thing to stick with those guys,” Roosevelt said.

The 31-year-old is well aware of the offensive struggles the Riders went through. Saskatchewan ranked in the bottom third of the CFL in many major statistical categories on offence during the 2018 season.

The Riders ranked last in offensive touchdowns scored (25), last in passing touchdowns (11), seventh in offensive points scored (19.6), seventh in offensive yards per game (322.8), eighth in two-and-outs (100), eighth in rushing touchdowns (14), eighth in passing yards per game (220.6) and tied for last in completions of 30 yards or more (22).

“Truthfully, it was a little bit of everything,” Roosevelt said regarding the Riders difficulty scoring points last year.

“Definitely we could’ve thrown the ball a lot more than what I would’ve thought. We can’t do the same thing we did last year, we gotta figure out different ways to get the ball in the playmakers hands.”

Roosevelt is willing to meet with offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo for whatever is needed to be done and boost the offence. While he believes having Zach Collaros back can help the problem.

“I’m glad Zach is back. We’re familiar with each other to get that chemistry down I feel like we didn’t have last year,” Roosevelt said.

“It’s going to be big. I know what he likes to do, what he sees on the field, he knows what I see and what I like to do. For us it’s just about getting that chemistry down.”

In order for Roosevelt to have a chance at getting 1,000 receiving yards again, the 2017 CFL West all-star needs to remain on the field consistently. Roosevelt has played in 49 of a possible 72 regular season CFL games – never appearing in more than 14 games in a single year.

“That’s my number one goal: playing a full 18 game season. Just being a little smarter with not taking big hits and understanding that I have to be healthy,” Roosevelt said.

“Our offence is ready to make a statement this year.”

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