Willie Jefferson feels some type of way about the Riders: ‘when it comes to Labour Day and Banjo Bowl — I hate ‘em’

Photo courtesy: CFL

Blue Bombers star defensive end Willie Jefferson feels some type of way about his former team.

Jefferson spent parts of three seasons in Saskatchewan with the Roughriders and signed in the Manitoba capital during free agency in 2019.

“I have good friends over there still, teammates, staff, but when it comes to Labour Day and Banjo Bowl — I hate ‘em. It is what it is with Saskatchewan,” Jefferson said.

“Any time I come from a team and I get the opportunity to play against that same team, especially when it was players and staff that was still over there when I was, I want to show them what they let go and show them the reasons why they shouldn’t have let me go.”

During 41 games with the Riders, Jefferson made 87 defensive tackles, 21 sacks, forced three fumbles, scored three touchdowns and grabbed two interceptions. He was named a CFL all-star in his two full seasons in green and white. That high calibre of play was on display in Winnipeg’s 2021 Labour Day Classic win at Mosaic Stadium.

“We were in a groove in Sask, we handled our business out there. Now that we get a chance to come back home and be back in front of our fans — the loudest fans in the CFL — the crowd noise, the atmosphere and the way that we play at home, it’s going to be hard for them,” Jefferson said.

The six-foot-seven, 252-pound disruptor recorded three tackles and one sack on Cody Fajardo in the September holiday weekend victory. The league’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player is focused on playing fast and physical in front of sold out IG Field crowd of 33,000 in the Banjo Bowl.

“We’re going to give them exactly what they want: hard Winnipeg football from start to finish,” Jefferson said.

“One out of 10? We’re at a 10 — we’re very confident. It’s going to be on Saskatchewan’s offence to stop us.”