Manny Arceneaux felt some type of way about his first season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“The expectations I had for myself and how I play the game of football wanting to be able to contribute more and do the things that the Manny Show do. But for whatever reasons not being put in that position, that was the one thing I would say bothered me about my 2019 season,” Arceneaux said on The Rod Pedersen Show.
“When I went to Saskatchewan I wanted to do the things that I’ve done in B.C. and over the course of my career, but with those things being limited that was the hardest part of coming to grips when it comes to football.”
The Manny Show spent the first eight years of his CFL career with the Lions. Arceneaux signed a one-year contract with the Riders during free agency in February 2019. He played in 11 games making 22 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns. The 32-year-old is currently scheduled to become a free agent on February, 11.
“That’s what my agent handles. I just want to get the ball and make plays if I’m back. The mentor and building the culture up and helping the guys, I done that in 2019. If I was to come back in 2020 I’m trying to make plays and do what it is I do and let my skill set contribute to getting some wins out there and making plays,” Arceneaux said.
“Being able to help the guys grow and mentor the receiver room and see the turn out, that was a plus for me. That was the biggest thing that I can say that I enjoyed from the season besides the fans and how crazy the atmosphere is out there.”
Prior to joining Saskatchewan, Arceneaux played 129 games recording 556 receptions for 8,169 yards and 55 touchdowns in B.C. He produced had three straight 1,000-yard seasons — including a career-high 1,566 yards in 2016 — from 2015-2017. Two times Arceneaux has been named a CFL all-star (2015 and 2016).
“I’m not under contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders — Manny’s going to be a free agent, so I’m just being realistic. I’m just waiting to see where my journey is going to take me in 2020,” Arceneaux said.
“I basically had a full year of just being healthy and just waiting to play some football the way that I play football. There’s plenty of gas in the tank and that’s just how I look at it. Until I done sign on the dotted line stating where I’m going to be for 2020, I refer to every team as them or they or that organization.”
Arceneaux played in nine games then a torn ACL knee injury ended his 2018 season, but he did make 32 catches for 553 yards and one touchdown — 1,000-yard pace. The veteran pass catcher proved he’s back to full capabilities on the field. Even after head coach Craig Dickenson benched him for Jordan Williams-Lambert in the fall, Arceneaux earned his roster spot back.
“One thing that hurt us was that we relied so much on talent and when games get tough and you face adversity — it all boils down to mental toughness. That’s what the veteran Manny Show gets from the game, that it’s all mental. It really don’t matter how big, fast or strong you are, it’s can you think when it’s crunch time and does the game slow down or does it speed up,” Arceneaux said.
“Once guys just develop that mental toughness, there can be plenty of championships that can be there in Regina with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That’s one of the most talented rosters and teams I’ve been a part of in my nine years of playing up in the CFL.”
Cody Fajardo was one of the main reasons why the Riders improved from 12-6 in 2018 to 13-5 and first in the West Division. Arceneaux saw his development with his own eyes. Fajardo is under contract with Saskatchewan through the 2021 season. When Fajardo had Arceneaux on the field, the Riders offence was a better unit.
“They’ve got them a good quarterback in Cody. I watched the guy the whole time we were in B.C. together. Actually getting the opportunity this year and I told him I was proud of him because I saw what he did with it,” Arceneaux said.
“He kind of reminded me of a Travis Lulay that sat behind Buck Pierce, Jarious Jackson, Casey Printers and once he got the keys to the car he took off and never looked back.”