Riders’ QB Jake Dolegala misses practice to stand trial for impaired driving

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Saskatchewan Roughriders backup quarterback Jake Dolegala was not on the field for training camp in Saskatoon on Thursday, as he stood trial for two charges related to impaired driving from last season.

“He’s back in Regina. He had the legal issue from last year and he’s just getting that taken care of,” head coach Craig Dickenson told the media. “He’ll be back tomorrow.”

Dolegala was in attendance at Regina Provincial Court to face charges of impaired operation of a conveyance and operation of a conveyance over .08 stemming from an arrest on Sept. 17, 2022. The 26-year-old was suspended one game by the Riders as a result of violating the team’s code of conduct.

“Drinking and driving is a significant problem in our province, one that can have dangerous consequences, and we are disappointed in Jake for his actions,” the Riders wrote in a statement announcing the suspension, noting that they had contacted the league office and were taking the matter “seriously.”

Dolegala spoke to the media shortly after the suspension was announced and indicated that he felt as though he’d let a lot of people down.

“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, to the fans, to this organization,” he said at the time. “It’s difficult and embarrassing to go through something like this. I never wanted to be a distraction to our goal, to what we want to accomplish this year with playoffs coming up. Just a terrible time.”

Dolegala saw action in two games over the course of the 2022 season behind Cody Fajardo and Mason Fine, completing 16-of-35 pass attempts for 154 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He started the club’s 31-21 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in Week 7 as the club had a number of players test positive for COVID-19.

The native of Hamburg, NY has reportedly impressed in his second CFL training camp and is embroiled in an open competition with Fine and newcomer Shea Patterson for the number two job behind new franchise quarterback Trevor Harris.

“They’re all doing a good job and they’re all getting a lot of reps. I think all three of them bring different things to the table,” Dickenson said Thursday. “It’s really a unique and exciting group and I couldn’t tell you who’s in the lead or who’s trailing. They’re all doing a good job.”

Dolegala was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals after going unselected in the 2019 NFL Draft and spent the entire season on their active roster. He played two preseason games that year and completed 37-of-54 pass attempts for 347 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed three times for 12 yards.

The six-foot-seven, 242-pound passer went on to spend time with the New England Patriots (2020-2021), Green Bay Packers (2021), and Miami Dolphins (2021) before signing in the CFL. He recently completed a workout with the Chicago Bears alongside Edmonton Elks’ quarterback Kai Locksley.

Dolegala attended Central Connecticut State University where he played in 44 games over four seasons (2015-2018). He completed 654 passes for 8,129 yards, 48 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions with the Blue Devils and added an additional 452 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

He left the school its all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns and was just the fifth quarterback in Northeastern Conference history to throw for over 8,000 career yards. He was named First Team All-Northeastern Conference as a senior.