Rob Bagg plays football with his best friends.
It’s a statement that was as true in 2013 when he played with Darian Durant and Weston Dressler as it is now.
Bagg said he found a new bond with Riders receivers that he didn’t think was possible.
“I was talking to these guys before the game, I just love this group. I didn’t actually think when (Dressler and Durant) left that I would have a new group of friends that would be as close as this group is,” he told reporters after the game on Nov. 4.
“Between (Duron Carter) and the other guys, they’re just great guys and I really enjoy being around them.”
The brotherhood among the receivers – which includes Naaman Roosevelt, Carter, Bakari Grant and Caleb Holley – is easy to see on the field and off through glimpses on social media.
On the field, touchdown celebrations are meticulously planned so everyone can be involved.
Off the field, the receivers gather for dinner and bowling nights.
“It’s really nothing I’ve done; it is just the type of guys these guys are. We’re all very different, but we all have enough in common and just enjoy spending time together,” Bagg said.
That bond, he noted, was the same connection he felt during the Roughriders last playoff run that ended with the team winning the Grey Cup at home.
“The main thing I feel like championship teams have is you play harder when you really care about the man next to you. And I think that’s the way we feel as a whole group in here.”
A lifelong Roughrider, Bagg has been part of previous Grey Cup appearances in 2009, 2010 and 2013 and – with any luck – in 2017.
With the loss to Edmonton on Saturday, the Riders have earned the crossover spot and will have to go through the Ottawa Redblacks and the Toronto Argonauts if they hope to make it to the championship game on Nov. 26.
It’ll be a more than two-week eastern road trip if things go well, as the team is not planning to return to Saskatchewan until they lose or bring home the Grey Cup.
“The great part is we had that Ottawa/Toronto road trip earlier in the season that will hopefully just help how comfortable we can get on the road and how quickly we can make that happen,” Bagg said.
The result of that Ottawa/Toronto road trip by the way? Two wins for the Roughriders.
The Roughriders square off against the Redblacks in the eastern semi-final Sunday at noon on TSN.
CJME Roughrider reporter Arielle Zerr will be there to provide playoff coverage throughout the week.