Despite spending all week downplaying the significance of Thursday night’s game, it will be big for both Darian Durant and Chris Jones.
“It’s a special ball game, but at the end of the day it’s a game we need, a game that can get us off on the right track and that’s how we’re looking at it,” the former Roughrider and current Alouette said to the Canadian Press on Wednesday.
In a similar way, the Roughriders head coach downplayed any sort of storyline heading into the CFL season opener.
“We’ve not mentioned him one time in our meetings,” Jones said. “He’s a pro, we’re a pro. There’s no storyline in our room other than we’re playing a really good football team.”
But given the history between these two men, they are selling the match up a little short.
Before Durant was traded to the Alouettes in January, Jones went on record saying the quarterback had been “moderately successful” then doubled down on his comments during the press conference when he announced the trade.
“We won five games with Darian Durant last year, that’s reality,” he insisted.
It was something Durant took personally, and probably still does.
“I just think that they way it was handled was very unprofessional,” he said. “(It) could have just been a simple ‘we want to go in another direction thank you for everything goodbye.’ I would have much rather had that go down … then to take personal shots,” Durant said during CFL week a couple months later.
Durant looked strong in preseason action with the Alouettes last week going seven of 12 with 113 yards and two touchdowns in limited time.
The Riders, on the other hand, lost 42-10 to B.C., but rotated more than 70 players in for evaluation ahead of last weekend’s cuts. A roster filled with starters could bring better results.
Kickoff for Thursday’s game is at 5:30 p.m. Saskatchewan time on TSN.
The Green Zone 10-hour game day begins at 1:30.