It wasn’t that Otha Foster didn’t like being a Roughrider. He just didn’t want to spend his entire life wondering.
The Roughriders 2016 defensive player of the year was released just ahead of free agency this year in order to pursue an opportunity with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens — a dream of his since he was a kid.
He went to training camp and played in the team’s preseason games before being released before the regular season began. The fact that he didn’t make it didn’t damper the experience for him and now he doesn’t have to wonder. He got some calls from other NFL teams, but nothing concrete and more than anything Foster just wanted to get back to playing football.
“I didn’t want to live the rest of my life saying, ‘What if?’, so I went down and took my shot. It didn’t work so I’m here, I guess, where I belong, right?” he said with a laugh.
“I’m ready to get out there and go,” Foster said before the team boarded the plane to Hamilton Wednesday.
He won’t have to wait much longer. Head coach Chris Jones confirmed that, despite missing half the CFL season, Foster will be starting against the Tiger-Cats on Friday.
Foster said the transition is fairly easy for him, given he’s been playing in the same defensive scheme with Jones for the past three years.
“I really knew everything before even looking at the playbook,” Foster said. “They did have a few changes left and right but there’s nothing I couldn’t adjust to.”
That familiarity made his return to the green and white — and his head coach — easy.
“I did have a few options, but I feel like this is the best choice for me.”
With the return this week of teammate Jeff Knox Jr. from his own NFL tryout, the linebacker corps of Foster, Knox Jr. and Henoc Muamba have been reunited. It can only spell good things for the Riders defence.
“I’m glad I did come back to my same guys,” he said.
“I enjoyed my time in Baltimore, I had fun,” he continued. “I’m back up here in another place (with) great fans, probably the best fans in all of sports and back into a great organization, so I’m just happy to be back.”
The Riders face off against the Ticats in Hamilton at 5 p.m. MT Friday.