The Saskatchewan Roughriders are turning their attention to next season less than 48 hours after a heartbreaking playoff loss.
The club is bringing back perhaps its speediest player in running back Marcus Thigpen.
Thigpen said coming back to Saskatchewan was a no-brainer for him.
“Really the main thing is the players, the guys that I was going to war with week in and week out. It made it so much fun,” Thigpen said. “The community as well the fan base here is amazing, the opportunities I have here are amazing. I want to retire as a Rider.”
Thigpen just finished his second season with the Green and White after coming out of retirement in 2017.
The 32-year-old gained 408 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries, while adding 24 reception for 233 yards and one touchdown this season. Thigpen split duties with either running back Tre Mason or Cameron Marshall for the majority of the season, but also spent time in the Roughriders return game. He brought back 12 punts for 87 yards and returned 21 kickoffs for 521 yards and a touchdown.
In 2017, Thigpen was a vital part of the Roughriders advancement to the east-final rushing for 169 yards including a 75-yard touchdown.
Thigpen is just one of 27 pending Roughrider free agents that include quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge, receiver Naaman Roosevelt and defensive players such as Willie Jefferson, Samuel Eguavoen and Mike Edem.
“I would like to have everybody back but I know that’s the nature of the business it doesn’t happen that way,” Thigpen said. “So, whatever happens, we got to try to build that same bond and hopefully we get a lot of guys back next year.”
CFL free agency begins in mid-February.
— with files from 980 CJME’s Arielle Zerr