In 2022, the Saskatchewan Roughriders had one of the best comeback stories in the Canadian Football League (CFL) unfold before their eyes as linebacker Larry Dean returned from a torn Achilles to star as one of the top defensive players in the league.
This season, the Roughriders are hoping lightning strikes twice as linebacker Micah Teitz returns to the team after he missed last year with a groin injury.
During the first week of camp, Teitz felt good about being on the field again.
“Feels good to be back doing what I love to do.”
Despite the absence of the former Calgary Dino, the Roughriders linebackers had a successful season as Dean and Darnell Sankey both collected over 100 tackles to become the second duo in CFL history to achieve the mark in the same season.
Teitz called Sankey a great player and teammate but believes the production can continue this year.
“We’re not going to skip a beat for sure.”
In 2021, the 26-year-old experienced his breakout season in green and white as he recorded 64 tackles in 13 games. He’s hoping to regain that form when he returns to game action.
“I always knew I had it, even in the first few years when I was playing on the teams.”
When the Roughriders signed Dean in February of 2021, the original intention was to pair him and Teitz at linebacker. After both players suffered season-ending injuries during training camp in consecutive seasons, Saskatchewan will be able to unleash that plan in 2023.
Teitz feels fortunate as a Roughrider to be playing alongside legendary linebackers as Dean and Solomon Elimimian.
“I played some great linebackers in Saskatchewan, probably the best one all-time in Solomon(Elimimian) so I mean it was cool that I got my first ever start with him and now I’m going up with another legend.”
As he works himself back into the lineup following his injury, the former second pick of the Roughriders in 2018 is now finding himself in a veteran role trying to help the rookies settle into the league.
“Just trying to flash at all times when you’re on the field and in the game film, even if you’re not involved in the play, if you’re sprinting really fast, coaches take notice.”
If all goes to plan, Teitz will be lining up in the WILL linebacker spot when Saskatchewan kicks off its season in Edmonton on June 11. The Calgary product says the position can be tough to grasp, but it can offer plenty of rewards for a linebacker.
“You got a lot of field, quarterbacks are constantly looking at you.”
He added, “You got to be one on your toes for sure but it gives you the opportunity to make a ton of plays out there, so it’s nice they have the confidence to put me there.”
This week, Teitz and the rest of the Roughriders will see their first live game action in 2023 when they return to Regina on Saturday as they host the BC Lions in the first preseason game at Mosaic Stadium.