The Riders are bringing Zack Evans home.
Evans, 27, was born and raised in Regina and started his CFL career with the green and white in 2012.
He won a Grey Cup with the club in 2013, but was picked up by the Redblacks in the 2013 expansion draft.
“It was very tough to leave. Honestly, I thought I would always be a Rider and I would retire a Rider,” Evans said during a conference call with media Tuesday.
Evans stayed with the Redblacks for four seasons, but went into free agency on Tuesday and signed with the Riders two hours later.
“I had no idea what was going to happen coming into it and then this fell into my lap and I couldn’t say no to it,” Evans said. “It was just the perfect fairy tale for me.”
Evans collected 23 defensive tackles and five quarterback sacks in 2017. He also tallied a defensive tackle in the east semi-final.
Throughout his six-season career, Evans has amassed 87 defensive tackles, 22 sacks, one interception and one touchdown. He is a two-time Grey Cup champion – winning with the Riders in 2013 and with Ottawa in 2016.
Evans is excited to lineup beside Willie Jefferson and Charleston Hughes.
“It’s going to be a really good year.”
Riders cut Derek Dennis, two others
About an hour after free agency opened Tuesday morning, the club announced they had cut offensive lineman Derek Dennis.
Dennis was a big name signing for the Roughriders during last year’s free agency and came with a hefty price tag.
Partway through the season Dennis, who was brought in to play left tackle, was moved to left guard when Dan Clark was injured. The Riders moved Bruce Campbell into the left tackle position and kept him there even after Clark was healthy.
Before coming to the Riders Dennis spent two years with the Calgary Stampeders and was named the CFL’s most outstanding offensive lineman in 2016.
The Riders also announced the release of defensive lineman Antonio Longino and linebacker Glenn Love.
Meanwhile, the team was unable to bring back receiver Nic Demski in free agency, who signed a one-year deal with his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Running back Kienan LaFrance also chose to sign with the Blue Bombers Tuesday.
A.C. Leonard signed with the Ottawa Redblacks. Leonard had spent the last two seasons with the Riders as a member of the defensive line.
Clark extends contract with the Riders
Just hours before he was set to hit the free agent market, Dan Clark will continue playing for his hometown Roughriders.
Before free agency began at 11 a.m., the Riders locked up the offensive lineman for two years.
This will be the 29-year-old’s sixth season with the green and white after starting with the team in 2012.
The Regina product has played 79 regular season games along with four playoff games and won the Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium in 2013.
Last season, Clark started the first six games of the season at the centre position but missed part of the season due to injury. He returned to start in the final three games of the regular season and the playoffs.