Special Teams are an integral part of the game for the Roughriders Tevin Jones and A.J. Allen


While the National Football League (NFL) continues to implement rules that restrict the impact of special teams, the Canadian Football League (CFL) has found itself embracing the third phase of the gridiron game.

This past week, the NFL introduced a new rule where a returner can fair catch a kickoff return inside of their 25-yard line, with the ball placed at the team’s 25-yard line.

Special teams are an integral part of the CFL, and it’s a big reason why players like wide receiver Tevin Jones and linebacker AJ Allen are still playing football.

Jones is entering his second season with the Roughriders. The wide receiver did see some action on the team’s offence, but he made his biggest impact on special teams where he made eight tackles last season.

Riders Tevin Jones being interviewed by 620 CKRM’s Michael Ball

The former Memphis Tiger says his main goal is helping the team.

“I’m just glad to have this opportunity out here. They know what I can bring to the offence and special teams I’m glad to be on it.”

AJ Allen is another player whose main contribution to the green and white is special teams. The linebacker is a member of all four of the Roughriders special teams groups. He feels special teams are an integral part of the game, especially being a Canadian player.

The 25-year-old says special teams provide the first entry onto the field for a lot of players.

“That’s how it starts for a lot of us.”

Allen continued, “You can still make a lot of plays on special teams, I do find pride in making plays like that, making those tackles, blocking down people, showing effort, running, being the first one down there, I find pride in that too.”

As a receiver, Jones enjoys the role reversal when he’s on the special teams coverage units.

“Some people think I can’t make a tackle because I play receiver so I go down there and show them I’m an athlete and I can do the best that I can do to make this team better.”

Playing special teams is nothing new for Allen. When he was a member of the Guelph Gryphons, he was named an All-Star for his efforts on special teams. He enjoys every minute of it.

“It’s a love for the game, I love doing it.”

With the Roughriders led by Head Coach Craig Dickenson, who has an extensive background working in special teams in his career, there is no doubt that portion of the game will always remain important for the team.

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