The Saskatchewan Roughriders have over 20 free agents to re-sign, but the one that is arguably atop the team’s list is Willie Jefferson.
The 27-year-old defensive end is coming off a career season in which he registered 10 sacks and two interceptions while making several big plays for a Riders defence that was the strength of their team.
Jefferson, who joked about the Canadian exchange rate when trading his Canadian money in for American before heading home, says he would be foolish not to check out options he may have in playing football south of the border with either an NFL team or a squad in the brand new Alliance of American Football, but he wouldn’t rule out returning to Saskatchewan because of not only the organization, but the community.
“Saskatchewan is a place I would like to call home,” Jefferson said. “I’ve become comfortable here, knowing the guys in the locker room, getting to know people in the community and in this organization.”
While there is a desire to stay in Saskatchewan, Jefferson says he really hasn’t discussed his future with his agent, but if the NFL or the AAF does come calling, he will listen. However, he adds that he and others thinking about joining the new league which starts play right after the Super Bowl need to do their homework.
“Money talks! ” Jefferson proclaimed. “Coming into the CFL as an American rookie, you might not get a lot and that new league is giving players 75 thousand American to start. That’s a new league though, so players have to see what it is all about. The CFL has been around for a long time, so you know what it is all about. It’s up to you. If you want to stay home and not get the exposure you get in Canada, but playing in front of friends and family is a choice you have to make. At the end of the day, money isn’t everything.”
Some of the other free agents the team has to sign if they want to include Zach Collaros, Naaman Roosevelt, Sam Eguavoen and Mike Edem.