Saskie OL Brett Boyko returns from ‘lagging illness’ to start at left tackle for Riders

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatoon native Brett Boyko has finally recovered from a sickness that kept him off the game day roster since Week 1 of the 2021 CFL season.

Boyko started at left tackle against the B.C. Lions at Mosaic Stadium on Friday, August 6. He was part of a 33-29 Roughriders win to begin the year. Soon after the season-opening win the 29-year-old came down with an undisclosed illness that caused him to miss five games.

“I’ve been sick for a while now, it’s been something I’ve been dealing with. I don’t even know what to say about it, it’s something I’ve been dealing with and getting better,” Bokyo said in a videoconference.

“For me it was my health, that’s number one, happy to be back on the mend. It was a tough few weeks there. I’m feeling good, back on the mend. The more you do and more reps you get — I’m ready.”

Rookie offensive lineman Andrew Lauderdale started the last five games at left tackle, but he won’t suit up in Week 8 due to an ankle injury. That means Bokyo draws into the starting lineup at the blindside spot, a critical position for protecting franchise quarterback Cody Fajardo.

“He’s ready to go. He’s had a couple good weeks of practices and I know he’s excited to get back out there and play,” head coach Craig Dickenson said.

“He’s been struggling the last month or so with a lagging illness. He’s been better the last two weeks and he’s been able to amp up his workload to the point where we’re confident he’s going to be able to play a full game.”

Boyko started five games for the Lions in 2019 during his first season in the CFL, however, B.C. released him in February 2021. He signed with the Riders in March and gets another chance to prove to his former team he can still play at a high level as the teams match-up at BC Place on Friday night.