Riders’ QB Cody Fajardo becomes father, expected to start Friday against Elks

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo became a father early Wednesday morning.

Wife Laura gave birth to the couple’s son, Luca, at 1:42 a.m. according to the veteran passer.

“Mom and baby are happy and healthy. Laura Fajardo is as tough as they come, she was absolutely amazing. God really blessed us with this little one! To everyone that has reached out and showered us with love and prayers, we can’t thank you enough,” Fajardo wrote on Twitter.

The 30-year-old left practice at Mosaic Stadium early on Tuesday to be with his wife at a local Regina hospital as she went into labour.

“We’re happy for him and we all gave him a big cheer on the way out. We wish him all the best. It’s perfect, he doesn’t need the extra practice. He’s had plenty of reps, give those young guys some reps. When it’s time he’ll come back. We’ll give him what he needs,” head coach Craig Dickenson said.

Regardless of how much practice time Fajardo misses this week, he’s expected to start in Week 15 against Edmonton at Mosaic Stadium. The six-foot-two, 223-pound dual-threat pivot has gone 2-0 versus the Elk this season, completing 31-of-46 passes (67 percent) for 377 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions while rushing 13 times for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

Fajardo is currently playing his best football of the 2022 season so far. He’s connected on 57-of-74 passes (77 percent) for 737 yards with two touchdowns and one interception over his last three starts. His signature mobility has reemerged despite continuing to play with a brace to protect the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee.

“We’ve made it better on him. We’ve called games that he’s more comfortable with, so credit needs to go to the offensive coaching staff and Jason Maas for developing game plans that he’s more comfortable with and does a better job running,” Dickenson said.

“Credit needs to go to the guys around him for stepping up, the guys have played better around him. We’ve gotten some continuity on offence, the same group has been out there the last few weeks and the more we do that, the better. I think the offence decided: ‘Enough of this.’ We’ve got veterans on this team, it’s time for us to step up and play better and I think they have.”

Friday night will mark the first time Fajardo plays football as a father and he’ll be even more motivated to win for his son. Luca will have dual Canadian-American citizenship because he was born in Canada, leading to the possibility of him becoming the next great Canadian quarterback to play for the Riders.

“Possibly — I hope we can get one before then,” Dickenson said with a laugh.

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