One key storyline for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders that has been lost in the hoopla of the quarterbacking situation with the Riders this week, is linebacker Darnell Sankey will face his old team, the Calgary Stampeders for the first time since signing with the green and white during the offseason on Saturday.
Despite a tough season in the win/loss column, Sankey has quickly become a fan favourite for his efforts on and off the field in Riderville.
In the community, the linebacker has provided a helping hand to many community initiatives.
On the gridiron, the former Sacramento State product has excelled in his first season wearing green and white, as he has accumulated 104 tackles. His teammate, Larry Dean has 92 tackles on the season. If Dean is able to reach the 100 tackle total this season, he and Sankey will become the second pair of linebackers on the same team to have 100 tackles in the same season
While the 100 tackles is a nice stat, Sankey feels the Riders record this season brings down the achievement.
“My only goal is winning.” He added “Having a 100 tackles is great but coming with 10 losses takes away from it.”
There is a possibility the linebacker could receive more honours before the end of the season. He will likely be the on the Roughriders shortlist when they announce their nominee for the top defensive player of the year.
Last season, the former Stampeder had 94 tackles in first season in the CFL after bouncing around the NFL rosters between 2016-19. Whenever he lines up at the middle linebacker position, he wants to be involved in every tackle on the defensive side of the ball.
“I expect to make every play.” Sankey added that tackles are not the only stat a defender focuses on, including sacks, interceptions and more.
Even though Saturday will mark the first time facing the Stampeders, the 28 year old believes that there are more important things to worry about than his own personal storyline this week.
“The only thing we can do is prepare for Calgary, the past is the past, we’re just trying to focus on this week, continue to improve that’s all we can do.”
Sankey doesn’t have that much emotional attachment heading into Saturday’s crucial game, adding when he prepares each week, he treats every opponent the same.
“I kind of know what they got, I know who’s on the team, but I know that every week, I watch film when I study, so it’s just another game.”
Saturday’s game can be heard on 620 CKRM, Countdown to Kickoff begins at 2:00, opening faceoff is 5:00.