Excitement, and maybe a few butterflies, are the only feelings Darian Durant has going into his first game at new Mosaic Stadium.
For some time, the Alouettes quarterback thought he would be the one ushering in the new stadium for Saskatchewan. But after contract negotiations broke down between Durant’s camp and the Roughriders in the offseason, he was traded to Montreal in January.
Instead, Durant will enter new Mosaic stadium as the enemy.
“I’m really excited to come out here and play, enjoy the atmosphere, experience it from a different point of view because I’ve never had to deal with the crowd noise before,” he said Thursday afternoon.
He never thought he’d have to. It was no secret Durant wanted to finish his career in green and white, but it didn’t end up the way he’d hoped. Even so, he’s not holding any grudges.
“It’s water under the bridge,” he said.
“I’ve moved on, (the Riders have) moved on and this franchise has moved and as it should. Eleven years in one place is a long time so for me to be able to do that, accomplish that here, it was a great run.”
Durant said he hopes the fans will have a positive reaction in his first return to the province, given what the franchise was able to accomplish while he was here.
“I hope it’s a nice warm reception, for sure. I hope Rider Nation appreciates my time here, appreciates what I’ve done for this franchise,” he said.
Though Durant did hit a rough patch with some of his Saskatchewan fans after a post-game celebration when the Alouettes beat the Riders on a missed field goal in late June. Durant could be seen jumping and shouting around the field after Tyler Crapigna’s field goal sailed wide.
The reaction left a bad taste in some fans’ mouths.
“That was just some raw emotion, just letting it all come out,” Durant said.
“I got a lot of (flack) on Twitter and social media because of that reaction. I guess people thought I was coming after Rider Nation, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure that wasn’t toward Rider Nation.”
After the early win the Alouettes limped through the rest of their season, gaining just two more wins.
It’s been difficult, but Durant isn’t letting it get him down because he had some exciting personal news to share: he’s going to be a father.
“I’m expecting a child in January so to come home and just see my fiancee grow, see my (yet to be born) daughter growing every day, it’s exciting for me,” he said.
“I’ve learned over the years how to separate football from what goes on at home so I won’t let (a losing season) break me at all.”