If there’s one thing to know about Riders kicker Brett Lauther it’s that he doesn’t give up.
Drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-cats in 2013, the 27-year-old played four games that season and then … nothing.
Sure, Lauther spent some time on some CFL teams’ practice rosters. He also had the occasional workout – including with the Roughriders – but for the first time since 2013, Lauther will have made a club’s active roster.
“I’ve been working so hard the last few years,” the Truro, Nova Scotia product said about what it means to have made the Roughrider squad. “I mean, even the first time I got to play in some games it wasn’t until halfway through the year, so to get it out of the gate – I’m just excited for (Friday).”
The spot on the roster is because of his skill, of course, but it was aided by the fact that Tyler Crapigna – the Riders’ kicker for the last two seasons – required season-ending surgery.
Jones said Crapigna had been willing to put off the surgery, but once the team knew they could count on Lauther long term, Crapigna opted to have it.
“(Lauther’s) a guy that has really taken his game to another level. I know that’s kind of a cliche but that’s the absolute truth,” head coach Chris Jones said on Thursday. “We didn’t just give him the job, he came in and he was consistent the entire camp, but the thing that’s most impressive about him is how he’s getting his kicks up … he’s worked really hard and I’m proud of that.”
And what’s not to be proud of. It takes a certain type of persistence to be told no over and over and over again and keep coming back and trying again for five straight seasons.
Lauther said at times it was enough to make him think of quitting, but those thoughts were fleeting.
“It’s hard when you’re trying to get on the field that long … but I think the biggest thing for me was just telling myself that whenever I’ve wanted to do something I got to do it and this was one of those things I knew I could do and I just wanted to do whatever it took to get here.”
Lauther had a solid preseason with the Riders that included a game where he went four for four on kicks and nailed a 55 yarder.
Those landmarks were exciting for Lauther, but to him, it’s just the start of what he hopes he can do this season.
“I want to keep this wave going through the whole year and not just peak too early or get down too low. I’m just going to go out there and do my thing and try to make it a good season for the Riders.”