Over the course of the 2017 season, fans watched as the bond grew between the Roughriders receiving corps.
From group touchdown dances, to dinners and bowling nights, it was easy to tell how much that crew meant to each other.
Now a large chunk of that group is gone.
“Yesterday it felt a bit different. It felt empty with the guys that we had last year not being here this year, but we know it’s a business. We know how the game goes,” Roughriders star receiver Naaman Roosevelt said.
It felt a bit different Monday, too, as Roosevelt found himself leading the receivers’ morning meetings after the veterans who came before him – Rob Bagg, Chad Owens and Bakari Grant – were all casualties of the Roughriders’ cut down day.
Roosevelt is heading into his fourth CFL season and as he started day one of the regular season. He was still receiving encouragement from Bagg. The man he calls a legend.
My bro .. the legend .. the truth.. @R_Bagg6 one of the greatest players I ever met on and off the field a true pro that showed me what it takes to be a professional.. showed me what hard work looks like and I will be forever be grateful I was your teammate!!!
— Naaman Roosevelt (@nyce18) June 11, 2018
“I talked to Robbie this morning. He texted me just telling me to keep on and keep working hard and keep showing these young guys what it takes to be a professional,” Roosevelt said.
After all, that’s what he said Bagg did for him.
“That guys has been through everything on the field. Going through injury coming back, how he works in the weight room. He motivates me. The past couple years since I’ve been up here I’ve been watching him and working out with him just trying to do the little things he doe just to get his body right. For me I feel like I got so much better on the field and off the field understanding what it takes to be a professional.”
Throughout the off-season, the receiving corps was constantly in touch. They planned for this season – the 2018 season to be their year – the one they won the Grey Cup.
Roosevelt said that while the personnel has changed and that’s tough, the goal hasn’t.
“That’s definitely still our goal, we got a bunch of great young guys here. We still got guys that have been around. We’re still on the right path.”