Riders allow Regina native Evan Johnson to leave training camp for birth of first child

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive lineman Evan Johnson has left training camp to be with his wife, Dakota, for the birth of the couple’s first child.

Fortunately for the Regina native it was a quick trip home to be by her side and become a father. Johnson signed a one-year contract worth $145,000 with the Riders to return home for the 2021 season.

“Evan can take as much time as he wants. We want him back for the first game healthy and ready to go. He can take as much time as he wants to be with his wife and to welcome the birth of their child. That doesn’t happen very often, it’s special so we want him to do that and we’re happy for him,” head coach Craig Dickenson said.

“One of the things we believe in is mindfulness on this team. We believe there is other things in life besides football, we certainly love football and we take it very seriously out here in the prairies, but we also realize that there is other things in life. Having a child has gotta be way up there in terms of important events.”

Through three seasons in the CFL, Johnson has played in 44 games and developed into a high-calibre Canadian starter along the offensive line. The 26-year-old was selected in the first round, ninth overall during the 2017 CFL draft by Ottawa and dressed all 18 games and started as a rookie with the Redblacks.

Entering his fourth year in the three-down league, Dickenson knows whenever Johnson rejoins the team he’ll be prepared for kicking off the regular season on Friday, August 6. He had been lining up at left guard for the Green and White, the spot vacated by veteran Brendon LaBatte.

“He didn’t time it very good nine months ago, but I’m not going to get into that, it’s between him and his bride. We’re happy for him and hopefully he gets a healthy baby boy or baby girl,” Dickenson said.

“He’ll show us some pictures when he comes back, I’m sure he’ll be anxious to get back when he can, but we want him to take as much time as he needs. We’re wishing him and his wife all the best.”

The latest edition to Rider Nation is on its way.

Must Read