Rider Nation helps put first touchdown football back in the hands of Regina native Brayden Lenius

Photo courtesy: @BraydenLenius

Brayden Lenius tossed his first CFL touchdown football to Rider Nation and the team’s faithful helped return it to the Regina native.

Riders quarterback Cody Fajardo ripped a pass in to Lenius who made a contested catch in the end zone for a 12-yard TD. He bounced off the turf and immediately threw the ball into the sold out Mosaic Stadium stands.

“The football found me. I had a bunch of people from Rider Nation hit me up: ‘We know the people that have the football,” Lenius said.

11-year-old Nixon Wiebe took the ball home to Saskatoon and had proudly displayed it on a stand in his room. However, after hearing Lenius was looking to try and get it back, the family agreed to return the memento.

“It’s selfless of them. He’ll get a couple signed things from the boys, from Cody, from myself. I got some other little small things I can give — he’ll be happy,” Lenius said.

“That’s my first pro career touchdown. For them to give it back, I’m super thankful. Mom is definitely happy to have it back for the shrine.”

Saskatchewan wants Lenius to earn plenty of souvenirs to put in the special room at his parents house while playing for the green and white. The six-foot-five, 230-pound receiver has a rare combination of size and athleticism.

“What I noticed from Lenius, the first time I saw him when he was a draftable player, you knew there was potential there,” offensive coordinator Jason Maas said.

The Roughriders selected Lenius in the second round, 15th overall during the 2019 CFL Draft. He played in 11 games as a rookie, grabbing two passes for four yards. Through one game in 2021, Lenius has three receptions for 25 yards and one major.

“He’s one of the best guys that we have at moving around and doing it with speed. When you’re that size and you can move, you can do a lot. He’s definitely an athlete,” Maas said.

The 24-year-old entered training camp in peak physical shape and it was noticed by Maas and his offensive coaching staff from the jump. The former CFL QB could sense Lenius was going to play well out of the gate as did his current trigger man.

“He can be a great, legit receiver in this league and could be a 1,000-yard receiver,” Fajardo said.

“In the red zone, especially, he can be a great target for us. I was excited to see him get his first touchdown and I hope that a lot more come.”

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

Fajardo admitted the team joked with Lenius about throwing away his first career touchdown ball. Lenius watched the video multiple times following the season-opening win over the B.C. Lions and didn’t fall asleep until 4 a.m. that night.

“It feels good, it’s a finally moment,” Lenius said. “You want to get in the end zone and contribute. I’m glad Cody got me the ball, I’m very happy about it.”

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