Darian Durant and I sat in the lobby of the Hamilton Sheraton for about an hour on Friday, July 11, 2008. It was the day before his first start as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback, back in the days when players were allowed to visit with reporters.
We talked mainly about his past and how he had gotten to the point in his career where he was trying to become a bona fide CFL starter. What struck me was his attitude. We laughed a bit and discussed his family and career goals.
He was polite, but there was no doubt in his mind that he was going to prove himself as a starter and win a championship before he was done. The Roughriders were the reigning Grey Cup champions; Durant had been the third-string quarterback, so he got a ring from 2007. He lost his starting job during the 2008 season — to Michael Bishop — but regained it in 2009.
The Roughriders won that game in 2008, beating the Tiger-Cats with a late-game rally that Durant engineered. In 2009 and 2010, they lost Grey Cup games, but when Durant hoisted the Grey Cup in 2013, after winning the championship at home, I recalled that conversation from 2008 and how Durant had been right about his future.