Saskatchewan has approved Riders return to play plan; GM Jeremy O’Day encourages players to get vaccinated

Saskatchewan Roughriders general manager Jeremy O’Day has encouraged his players to get vaccinated in hopes it helps a 2021 season kick-off.

The Riders’ GM sent a memo to his players following the CFL’s announcement of a delay to its schedule this year.


As I am sure you’re aware of now, due to the continued challenges we are facing regarding COVID-19, the decision has been made to delay the start of the season. I know that today’s news was not what you had hoped for, however on the positive side, we have a firm commitment to play in 2021 as long as we get public health approval for our return to play plans and we are allowed a level of fans in the stands.

Saskatchewan has already approved our return to play plan, so we are headed in the right direction.

The season will be condensed into a 14-game season. Our new report date will be July 2, followed by a seven-day quarantine period and then the start of training camp on July 10. The first regular season game of the 2021 season is scheduled for August 5. As we get closer to the start of training camp, we will reach out to you to arrange travel. We appreciate your commitment to the Roughriders, and we are excited about our team.

We know these have been challenging times. One major way to help us with our return to play and getting fans in the stands is by getting vaccinated. Our medical professionals are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective and are critical to getting our team back on the field. If you would like to speak to one of the Roughrider doctors about the vaccine, please let me know and we will arrange that.

Please stay safe and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to myself, Coach Dickenson, or your positional coach.

Look forward to seeing all of you in July.

The Riders last on the field in November 2019 when it lost the West Final to Winnipeg. The rival Blue Bombers went on to win the Grey Cup and have been reigning CFL champions ever since.

O’Day is anxious to see quarterback Cody Fajardo perform as the starter from the get-go should football be played in 2021. Fajardo is coming off a CFL all-star season after taking over the starting job in Week 2. He led the Riders to a first-place finish in the West Division as the No. 1 QB following three years as a backup in Toronto and B.C.

In an effort to put the Riders, Fajardo and every franchise back on the field, the CFL and its players’ association began meetings during the second week of February. The two sides have submitted return-to-play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada, while the federal government has to provide the final stamp of approval.

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