Riders’ Canadian kicker Brett Lauther opts out of contract, prepared for NFL opportunity

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Canadian kicker Brett Lauther wants to be available for an NFL shot.

The 29-year-old has decided to opt out of his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which would have expired in February 2021, in order to be ready if NFL teams come calling. Lauther doesn’t have an agreement or any workouts lined up, but he wants to keep himself free should an opportunity present itself.

Lauther has let Riders’ general manager Jeremy O’Day and head coach Craig Dickenson knows about his intentions. He feels it’s a long shot — although there’s always a chance — especially in the unpredictable year of 2020 and the ramifications COVID-19 could have on NFL rosters.

During two seasons with Saskatchewan, Lauther has made 86-of-101 kicks (85 percent) with a long of 57 yards. His best season in green and white came in 2018 when he hit on 54-of-60 field-goal attempts (90 per cent). For those efforts, Lauther was named a West Division all-star while being named Saskatchewan’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and Most Outstanding Canadian that year.

It was former Riders’ head coach and general manager Chris Jones who provided Lauther the opportunity to compete for a CFL roster spot after four years out of the league. Jones is currently in player development for the Cleveland Browns; he’s one of the people to whom Lauther has reached in the hopes of earning an NFL shot.

Regina native Jon Ryan has encouraged Lauther as well. The 38-year-old spent twelve seasons in the NFL, ten with Seattle and was part of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII winning team. Ryan believes all Lauther needs is an opportunity and he could realistically compete in the NFL as a kicker.

Lauther weighed the pro and cons of opting out. He feels it’s a low-risk, high-reward decision. O’Day and Dickenson know he wants to return to Riderville if he doesn’t end up in the NFL.

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