Saskatoon native Brett Boyko quickly developed a love for the Roughriders as a young boy.
At three years old Boyko said it was his dream to play for the Green and White, telling anybody and everybody who would listen. That became a reality when Boyko signed a contract with the Riders on Monday.
“I used to be that kid standing at the old Taylor Field waiting for the guys to come out and get autographs and pictures all the time,” Boyko told Derek Taylor on 620 CKRM’s The SportsCage.
“I got a lot of pictures with a lot of guys, anytime I could meet a Rider I was pretty pumped up about it.”
Boyko was “beyond excited” to join the team he grew up watching. He’ll be an offensive lineman for the Riders, but the six-foot-seven, 305-pound athlete wanted to play quarterback prior to earning an NCAA football scholarship. During his senior season at St. Joseph High School, Boyko was the starting QB for the Guardians.
“My senior year we needed someone to throw the ball. We had a lot of weapons, so they needed someone to get the ball slinging. Truth be told, quarterback was the position I always wanted to play growing up,” Boyko said.
“I went to a Matt Dunigan camp when I was younger and he told me that’s the only position I should play. That was a dream come true for me in high school was to be able to stand behind centre and have the ball in my hands every play.”
The 28-year-old felt he was a “pretty decent” quarterback, but the University of Nevada, Las Vegas believed his best spot was on the offensive line. He started 43 games over four seasons with the Rebels at guard and tackle.
“It was a culture shock for sure when you go from Saskatoon to Las Vegas and the bright lights on the strip. It was a lot of fun, there’s no denying that. I definitely had my share of fun in Vegas,” Boyko said.
Following his NCAA career, played in the 90th East-West Shrine Game and earned an invite to the 2015 NFL Combine. Boyko signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted NFL free agent. He spent that season on the Eagles practice roster, before moving on to the Los Angeles Chargers, where he spent three seasons (2016-2018) and played in one NFL game.
Boyko was a member of the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football before the league ceased operations. Most recently, Boyko was with the B.C. Lions, who selected him in the second round, 14th overall during the 2015 CFL Draft. He played 15 games for the Lions in 2019.
“I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years. I got hurt day three in B.C. training camp in 2019, it was one of those seasons where I’m limping into every game, barely could practice, getting out of bed limping, it was a tough go for me,” Boyko said.
“To come home and play for Saskatchewan, a team I was a diehard fan of rowing up and they’re getting what I feel like is the best Brett Boyko — it’s bucket list stuff for me.”