Veteran receiver Naaman Roosevelt could help Hamilton’s offence move the chains

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats need Naaman Roosevelt on offence.

The former Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver has been patiently waiting at his home in Buffalo — under an hour-and-a-half drive away from Steeltown — for an opportunity to continue his career in Canada.

Roosevelt has sure hands, veteran savvy and a great attitude which would fit well in the carefully constructed Ticats locker room. He would provide an ideal complement to Brandon Banks who does his best work as a vertical threat.

The six-foot-one, 195-pound pass catcher can use his knowledge and fearlessness to work the intermediate areas of the field and move the chains for Hamilton. Roosevelt led the Riders with 26 second conversions in 2019 while having the most targets in the league (116) without a dropped ball that same season.

With Bralon Addison and DeVier Posey on the six-game injured list, and up-and-comer Marcus Tucker on the one-game injured list, the Tabbies have been forced to go young at receiver. Papi White and Tim White started the first game of their respective CFL careers in the loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 2.

The University of Buffalo graduate has been productive everywhere he’s played. With the Bulls he made 268 catches for 3,551 yards and 28 touchdowns through four years and 49 games in the NCAA’s Mid-American Conference. Roosevelt’s best season in Western New York came during his junior year in 2008 when he hauled in 104 passes for 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns.

After going unselected in the 2010 NFL draft, Roosevelt signed a priority undrafted free agent contract with his hometown Bills. He spent two seasons in Buffalo playing 16 games recording 25 receptions for 396 yards and one touchdown. Following stints with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and a second time with the Bills, Roosevelt made his way north of the border for the 2015 season.

The 33-year-old spent five seasons with the Riders, recording 301 receptions for 4,134 yards (61.7 yards per outing) and 20 touchdowns in 67 games. He produced two 1,000-yard seasons and nearly a third last season when the Buffalo native caught 77 balls for 946 yards and one major.

The reliable Roosevelt could help Banks see more favourable coverage by being a threat in the high traffic areas, especially between the hash marks, while providing critical guidance from a proven commodity for the green athletes in the receiving group.

It’s a signing that would benefit Jeremiah Masoli or Dane Evans, whoever is starting at quarterback, and boost the Ticats in a year where the black and gold are focused on winning the Grey Cup on home turf.

Hamilton has opened the season 0-2 and are currently on the first bye week of their 2021 schedule. That timing could be ideal for Roosevelt to complete his COVID quarantine, learn the basics of Tommy Condell’s offence and be prepared for action in Week 4 against the Montreal Alouettes and beyond.

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