There is one silver lining from Marcus Thigpen’s two-game suspension.
The Roughriders running back was able to go home to Detroit, Mich., and see his daughter Diamond’s Grade 8 graduation.
Thigpen tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug called Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone after a random drug test in November 2017.
The league announced the suspension in March and it meant that while Thigpen could participate in training camp and the preseason, he had to sit out the Riders’ first two games of the regular season.
Thigpen said it was “painful” to be away from the field. “Anytime you’re on a team and you feel disconnected, you can’t be out there with your going to war, it’s painful … but I’m glad to be back and happy to be part of this team.”
Thigpen said he learned that he needs to pay more attention to what he puts in his body so he doesn’t cost himself or his teammates time he could be spent on the field.
“But more importantly, just protecting my own safety and my own health.”
Thigpen is expected to be activated for Saturday’s game against the Alouettes and believes he can make an impact.
“We need that burst, we need that spark and I feel like I can do that when we get back,” he said.
He’s certainly provided that sort of spark in the past.
Thigpen was the starting running back when the green and white faced the Ottawa Redblacks during the 2017 eastern semi-final. Thigpen had an outstanding game rushing for 169 yards including a 75-yard scamper for a touchdown.
The Roughriders offence was stymied by the Redblacks last week with running backs Jerome Messam and Tre Mason rushing for a combined 61 yards.
Thigpen said this week, they’re going to make the run game a factor again.
“I believe we can get it going we just got to make sure that we mesh together, get things going.”
And personally, he’s also worked on improving his blocking – something that after quarterback Zach Collaros went down with a concussion last week – has become even more important.
“If we can’t protect the quarterback we can’t play,” he said. “I know coach said for me to go from good to great I got to be able to protect the quarterback as well as run the ball and catch out of the backfield. That’s definitely my number one priority.”