The list of pending CFL free agents gets shorter by the day, but don’t expect Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther to get his name checked off anytime soon.
The 30-year-old opted out of his contract with the team in late August in order to be ready if NFL teams came calling, but his return is being delayed by what he perceives as an unstable situation in the league.
“There is too much ongoing stuff to commit to a contract that you’re going to be locked into and then not paid for if they don’t play,” Lauther told Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post on Monday. “I loved being in Saskatchewan and that’s where I want to be.”
“There are still too many unknowns, whether it be the CFL playing 18 games or if they will play at all or what they will do with border restrictions with players coming to Canada or a bubble.”
According to Lauther, that lack of clarity is a top down issue and it’s players like him who suffer.
“There is no direction from the CFL in what is going to happen. I’m not one of the quarterbacks in the CFL who is going to get $200,000 to sign, so I wanted to keep my options open with Saskatchewan,” Lauther lamented. “I also know there are a number of teams where there are spots open. If I come back, I’m ready to come back and compete.”
During two seasons with Saskatchewan, Lauther has made 86-of-101 field goals (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).
Lauther was named a West Division all-star in 2018 while also being named Saskatchewan’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and Most Outstanding Canadian that year.
The Truro, Nova Scotia native is still chasing his NFL dream and is currently based out of Minot, North Dakota, where his girlfriend is completing a Master’s degree. Living in the US makes Lauther more easily accessible for NFL try-outs but he wasn’t able to gain an opportunity in 2020.
While he didn’t catch on in the NFL, Lauther did manage to catch something else: COVID-19. Both he and his girlfriend tested positive on Christmas Day and Lauther is still dealing with the long-term side-effects.
“It has been over a month since I’ve been able to taste my food,” Lauther told McCormick. “You go to the bathroom and you can’t smell anything or, when you go outside, you can’t smell fresh air. When you eat food, everything is just a texture. It’s super weird.”
Luckily, that is as bad as it got for the couple and they did not suffer serious health complications.
“We feel fortunate compared to a lot of older or younger people who it has really taken a toll on. It was just a little bit of a cold for one day and obviously, the loss of my sense of smell and taste”
The 30-year old entered the CFL in 2013 as a seventh round selection of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and previously spent time with Toronto and Edmonton between three separate stints with Riders.
Despite the lack of direction by the league, the local fan favourite doesn’t want to go anywhere else next season. Lauther is simply playing the waiting game until he sees a clear vision from the league.
“I told (Riders head coach Craig Dickenson) that I wouldn’t run to another team or entertain offers right now,” Lauther said. “If there is anything else, I will let them know, because in another month or two things could change.”