A long winter of waiting came to an end on Wednesday with the Saskatchewan Roughriders opening up Rookie Camp in Saskatoon at Griffiths Stadium.
Some of the newest members of the Roughriders organization will practice for a couple of days before the Main Camp gets underway on Sunday morning.
One player who suited in green and white for the first time at Rookie Camp was linebacker Matt Dean. The York University product was selected by Saskatchewan in the third round with the 21st overall selection in last week’s 2023 CFL Draft.
Shortly after his first practice with the Riders, Dean joined Sean Kleisinger on The SportsCage to recap the opening day of Rookie Camp.
To start camp the linebacker is wearing jersey #75. he noted that it was the number that was assigned to him but plans on earning his spot on the Riders roster.
“I’m a rookie so I really got to work for things it doesn’t get handed to me like that so I’m getting ready to work. ”
Dean didn’t get to experience much winning when he was with the Lions. During his time at York (2018-22), the team only won five games, with three of them coming back in 2018. The 23-year-old said he never lost focus if his dream of playing in the professional ranks.
“Playing at pro football was something I always wanted to do. ”
In his final season with the Lions, Dean racked up 41 tackles over an eight game span, he also had a pair of interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Hailing from Oshawa, Dean said he has never been to the western side of the country including Saskatchewan. He noted that he has seen pictures of the facilities inside of Mosaic Stadium and can’t wait to experience them for the first time in person.
Dean’s first trip to Regina will have to wait for the time being as his first stop in the province will be in Saskatoon for the team’s rookie camp.
When the season gets underway, the Roughriders third round selection in the 2023 CFL Draft believes he can make an impact as a member of the green and white.
“I’m a fast, physical linebacker, I can do a lot of things in the coverage game, pass rushing, so they can expect a lot of things out of me, I feel like I’m a Swiss Army Knife at my position.”