Jeremy O’Day reveals Canadian DB Jaxon Ford underwent wrist surgery, could miss start of season

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders could be without Canadian defensive back Jaxon Ford to start the 2024 season as general manager Jeremy O’Day revealed he underwent off-season surgery to repair a wrist injury that carried over last year.

“He might miss a little time,” O’Day told the media in Regina on Monday. “We certainly don’t have to find his replacement (in this year’s draft). It’s not gonna end his career or anything like that.”

The 23-year-old was a second-round pick out of the University of Regina in last year’s draft and played 15 games as a rookie, recording 12 defensive tackles and six special teams tackles. He made two starts while Jayden Dalke was out due to injury with the first coming in the Banjo Bowl against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Saskatchewan started a Canadian player at safety in 17 of 18 regular season games this past year with Dalke making 14 starts. Former first-round draft pick Nelson Lokombo and Derrick Moncrief, the latter of whom is no longer with the team, both made one.

O’Day also revealed that American offensive lineman Brandon Council is unlikely to return to the team due to a job opportunity at his alma mater of Auburn University.

The six-foot-four, 328-pound blocker made seven starts at right tackle this past season and was expected to compete for the starting job at left tackle in 2024. It remains unclear who will win the job protecting Trevor Harris’ blindside as Jermarcus Hardrick, the club’s prized free agent signing from Winnipeg, plays exclusively at right tackle.

Toronto native Philip Blake has experience playing left tackle, though O’Day indicated the team isn’t currently planning to start four Canadians along the offensive line.

“It’s not the intent going in, but you never know. I think we’re gonna look at some different opportunities and different ways to set up the ratio. Ultimately, it’s just going to come down to what we feel like the best group is and the best way to set up our ratio,” he said.

“We’re going to have a competition at left tackle and we’re gonna see how some of our new recruits do there, so that’s a position that I’m very interested in in training camp of who’s going to step forward.”

Newcomers at left tackle include Jacob Brammer, Jonathan Hubbard, Sadarius Hutcherson, and Trevor Reid. Jerald Hawkins, the longtime NFL player who missed almost all of last season due to a knee injury, and Jordan Tucker, who didn’t make any starts last year, also remain on the roster.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders hold the third overall pick in the 2024 CFL Draft, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.