Regina’s hometown receiver Chris Getzlaf is trading in his green and white jersey for green and gold.
Getzlaf officially signed with the Edmonton Eskimos on Thursday afternoon.
Although he was first drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2007, the Canadian slotback played for the Roughriders for eight seasons. He racked up 5,694 receiving yards with 368 receptions and 37 touchdowns.
He was on the practice roster for the 2007 Grey Cup but earned his second Grey Cup ring at home in 2013 being named the Most Valuable Canadian.
Speaking with the Green Zone Thursday afternoon, Getzlaf called the last few weeks of CFL free agency an up-and-down process.
“It’s something I hadn’t experienced in my nine years in the league,” Getzlaf said.
“Thankfully everything’s in place now.”
Getzlaf said the Riders let him know a few days before free agency began that he wouldn’t be offered a contract with the green and white.
“I’ve been really blessed with my opportunity to play in my hometown for the team (I) grew up cheering for. To play nine seasons with that team and win a couple Grey Cups … that’s a thing that I’m always going to hold dear to my heart. It’s tough to hear when you’re no longer in that picture but at the same time it’s a new regime that has a vision and I can respect that.”
Conversations began with the Eskimos a few weeks ago, with Getzlaf traveling to Edmonton last week for a physical and meeting with the team.
“I thought that everything in those conversations is what any player would like to hear. You’re going to an organization that I think is doing things the right way.”
Fans reacted to the news when Getzlaf made the announcement on Twitter wishing him all the best with some Edmonton fans welcoming him to the team.
— Chris Getzlaf (@ChrisGetzlaf) February 25, 2016
— sk (@samklacker) February 25, 2016
— Hanny 22 (@RiderPackerFan) February 25, 2016
@ChrisGetzlaf Welcome to the Green and Gold Chris! Let’s get that championship!
— Joey Degner (@joeydegner) February 25, 2016
Welcome to Edmonton @ChrisGetzlaf!
— Oleg Chubarov (@OlegChubarov) February 25, 2016
— Riley Lupky (@riley_lupky26) February 25, 2016