Thigpen wants more touches, more money for players

Saskatchewan Roughriders playmaker Marcus Thigpen says he would like more touches in the offence next season and he’s got some thoughts on the upcoming collective bargaining agreement.

“It’s definitely frustrating not being out there as much as I want. But the logic behind it was they wanted to try to keep me fresh,” Thigpen said on 620 CKRM The SportsCage.

“Hopefully this year we don’t have that issue. I still feel young, my body feels good, I feel like they tried to cater to my age not knowing that I still feel like I’m 20. I’m looking forward to getting the ball as much as possible and making plays.”

Thigpen signed an extension just days after the Riders season ended in November. General manager Jeremy O’Day went out and inked running back William Powell for two seasons. With Tre Mason scheduled to miss the majority of the 2019 season due to a torn ACL suffered in Saskatchewan’s West Division semifinal playoff loss to Winnipeg, the Riders needed a physical back.

Powell spent the first three seasons of his career with the Ottawa Redblacks rushing for 2,835 yards and 13 touchdowns on 500 carries (5.7-yard-per-carry) while catching 90 balls for 719 yards and four majors. He’s been an East all-star the last two seasons and won a Grey Cup in 2016 as a member of the Redblacks.

“Signing William was a great move, I feel like we compliment each other very well. It’s a long season and I know that we need multiple backs on the roster. He’s a great back,” Thigpen said. “It never really raised my eyebrow because I know the business, I’ve been around the game for a long time.”

Thigpen turned pro in 2009 after four years at the University of Indiana. The 32-year-old has played in the NFL and CFL and believes the compensation should improve for athletes north of the border in the new collective bargaining agreement.

“The main thing is the salary increase. I feel like we play the most games out of every other league, football-wise. We’re playing two pre-season, 18 regular season games and then you got the playoffs if you make it that far and we’re putting our bodies through a lot. I feel like the guys should be compensated for that,” Thigpen said.

Quarterbacks saw a dramatic increase in earnings through the contracts Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris put pen to paper to during free agency in mid-February. Reilly was the highest paid player in the league during the 2018 season making around $525,000 and the Lions paid him $725,000 to come back to the West coast.

“Honestly, there’s not any animosity. You do look at guys a certain way and you say ‘wow’ how could you pay a quarterback this much? But then only pay a lineman or a running back this much? There is no jealousy, no hate, we just understand that’s what it is,” Thigpen said.

“A lot of guys just accept it. I know that’s not everybody’s approach and some people probably do hold grudges or are angry over what it is, but that’s a lot of guys’ mindset and they don’t really talk about it too much. But I’m sure they do feel some type of way about it.”

Must Read