Pending free agent Shaq Evans doesn’t expect to be back with Saskatchewan Roughriders

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It appears as though veteran receiver Shaq Evans has played his last game as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He is set to become a free agent on Tuesday, Feb. 14 and has yet to hear from the Riders about a possible extension.

“In my opinion, I don’t think I’ll be back in Sask. I love playing in Sask and will want to be there, but if it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out and I’ll be excited for my next opportunity wherever it will be,” Evans told CKRM in Regina.

“My agent said that it doesn’t look like they’re going to make an offer but we never know what can happen. I don’t know if they’ve really contacted any veteran receivers that we had last year yet but if they are, then I don’t know. I feel like they’re still trying to figure out their direction on offence. I know they’ve got the coordinator and everything but we still don’t have a quarterback and things like that, so I think they’re trying to figure that out first.”

The six-foot-one, 210-pound target has struggled with injuries over the past two seasons, dressing for only 17 games since the league returned to the field coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He suffered same injury in back-to-back years, albeit on different legs: he broke a bone in his left leg in 2021 and a broken bone in his right leg in 2022.

The 31-year-old was a fourth-round pick of the New York Jets in the 2014 NFL Draft and spent four years bouncing around the league with Jacksonville, New England, and Dallas before coming to the CFL in 2018. He has been a member of the Riders ever since and will miss playing in Regina if indeed his tenure with the team is coming to an end.

“It’s a little disappointing because that’s the place I played four seasons there and had some success, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, but it’s the first place I could call home as a professional,” said Evans. “It’s definitely a little disappointing but it’s a business and I understand it, so there’ll definitely not be any hard feelings or anything.”

Evans has made 179 receptions for 2,830 yards and seven touchdowns over 52 career CFL games and was named a league all-star in 2019 following a breakout season during which he made 72 catches for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns.

The native of Inglewood, Calif. indicated that he has yet to make a list of preferred destinations in free agency, though there are some quarterbacks with whom he’d like to play. He and Jake Maier train together extensively during the off-season and would also welcome the opportunity to play with him, Bo Levi Mitchell or Trevor Harris. Mitchell recently signed a three-year contract in Hamilton, while Harris is a pending free agent.