Brayden Lenius is not the same player he was when the Riders drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft.
When Lenius reported to training camp, he was 26 pounds lighter after being told by head coach Craig Dickenson to lose weight.
Lenius came to camp this year weighing 215 pounds which is the same weight he had when playing at the University of Washington.
One week into training camp, Lenius says he has noticed the difference.
“I’m able to do more things on the line. I’m able to run by guys now, which at 240 I wasn’t doing,” the 24-year-old said. “It just gives me more confidence when I’m on the field and it puts me in a better position because I can actually move. I’m more agile and a lot faster now. I feel I am also as strong if not stronger as I was at 240. I just feel it is easier to move and be successful.
While dropping weight for football reasons, Lenius also admits he was thinking about his future as the death of his father, former Rider Troy Dickey, played a big factor in deciding to drop chicken wings for cauliflower bites. Dickey died at the age of 46 just days before Lenius and his Washington Huskies played at the 2017 Fiesta Bowl.
While he made the change for football reasons, the death of his dad — Troy Dickey — also played a role.
Dickey was a receiver with the Riders in 1995. He died from a stroke suffered just days before Lenius played in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl with the University of Washington Huskies. Dickey was 46.
“Not to get too personal, but my dad passed away pretty young and he was like me when he was young,” said Lenius, a 24-year-old who was born in Regina. “But he died at a heavy weight, so that puts a little extra stress on. I want to live my life right, not just with football., but outside of it. I want to be a healthy person so I had to take the next step and lose some weight.
With Dickenson saying he wants to have two Canadian receivers amongst his starting 12, Lenius is likely to have one of those spots which he is more than fine with as he hopes to be able to revive the days when the Riders had solid Canadian receivers in their midst.
“If you look at the Canadian Air Force (Rob Bagg, Andy Fantuz, Chris Getzlaf) back in the day, they had three Canadians rolling and they were successful. “Lenius said. ” I kind of want to bring that back.”