Nicholas Dheilly and Charbel Dabire are “D”-lighted to be members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders


Nicholas Dheilly and Charbel Dabire come from different places, but they both have one thing in common, they feel like they’re home as defensive linemen with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

For Dheilly, the feeling comes as second nature after growing up in the Queen City. Meanwhile, Dabire has taken a longer route to Saskatchewan. He was born in Burkina Faso and then moved to Canada at an early age. After moving to the United States for the end of his high school career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, he made collegiate stops at New Mexico Military Institute (2015) and Wagner College (2016-2018).


Nicholas Dheilly with Michael Ball

Entering his third season in the Canadian Football League, Dheilly is recovering from his first significant injury after a hip ailment forced him out of the lineup after Week 8 last season. The former University of Saskatchewan Huskie is ready to go following his recovery period in the off-season.

“We’re back in camp, I feel fresh, feel like I got a brand new hip.”

Dheilly takes a lot of pride in wearing green and white.

“It’s everything to me.”

The Regina product believes one of his responsibilities as a member of the Roughriders is to give back to the community like the generation before him.

“Anytime I give back to some Regina kid who thought he couldn’t make it, just like me man, you never know what could happen.”

One tidbit Dheilly likes to pass on to others is the importance of playing special teams in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

“Anybody who wants to make it in the CFL you got to play specials regardless, as a Canadian you make sure play on specials and you make sure you play wherever you can.”


Earlier in the week, defensive line coach Del Cowsette referred to Charbel Dabire as a “Dancing Bear.” You will be hard-pressed to find a bigger smile than the one from Dabire.

“I got to see everyday as a happy day, so happy to be here.”

Now listed at 6’1 291 lbs, Dabire says he’s in great shape after he felt too heavy two years ago when he reported to camp for the Roughriders.  Last year the defensive tackle believed his weight was too light.

The 26-year-old thinks the added strength compared to last year will help him.

“I still felt strong definitely felt like since I was lighter they were able to push, I had to use more force for it, I like the heavier weight.”

Even with the extra weight, Dabire included conditioning in his off-season training. This past off-season he spent time running hills with his brother, Eddy, who plays semi-pro soccer in Toronto.

“I do a lot of hills with him, lot of conditioning drills, just running around, walks, anything we can do, competition drills, sprints, so I always say I’m faster than him so he always likes to prove it.”

Being selected by the Roughriders in the CFL Draft in 2019 was Dabire’s introduction to the province. But he has since grown to love Saskatchewan after his arrival.

“Since I’ve been here, feels like home, I’m from Toronto, but Toronto is a very busy area, I like to be in an area where I can focus on football and be with the team, so this is a great place for it.”

Whether Saskatchewan is the natural home for Dhielly or it’s a home away from home like Dabire, both players are now looking to settle into a long-term residence on the Saskatchewan Roughriders roster.

Training Camp Day 5 Notebook

  • After being forced indoors on Wednesday, the Roughriders returned to Griffiths Stadium on Thursday. The team also had the pads back on.
  • Jake Dolegala was absent from practice as he attended to his legal matters in Regina.
  • It was a better day for the receivers all across the board. A couple of standouts from Thursday’s practice were Jake Herslow and Kendall Watson.
  • Friday will be the final practice of the week at Griffiths Stadium. Saturday, the Green and White game will take place at SMF Field.


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