Doesn’t matter if he’s a player or a coach, Naaman Roosevelt is a still a popular name in Riderville

When Mosaic Stadium becomes a sea of green on game days, one of the most popular numbers and names in white on the back is #82 Naaman Roosevelt.

Even though the last time he suited in green and white was in 2019, many fans in Rider nation haven’t forgotten the contribution the “President” made on the field, as he begins his new role helping the team off the field as a member of the Roughrider’s coaching staff.

Roosevelt was hired this past offseason for a full-time role after serving as a guest coach at training camp in 2022.

He is becoming familiar with the offensive scheme as assistant coach this season. The former receiver says he is learning the responsibilities of other positions.

“Protection, that’s my biggest thing, is learning protection, what the o-line is suppose to be doing, just learning what the quarterback reads are.”

The Buffalo product says he’s gained plenty of valuable knowledge.

“I’ve learned about offences this year, defences more about the game and it’s been helping.”

Roosevelt alongside receivers coach Drew Tate has provided a helping hand for a Saskatchewan receiving core that has emerged as one of the league’s best, with players like Tevin Jones, Shawn Bane Jr. and Samuel Emilus seizing their opportunities that arose in 2023.

Now with the recent return of the team’s leading receiver in 2022, Kian Schaffer-Baker and the depth with veteran National receivers Mitch Picton and Juwan Brescacin and young Americans like Jerrath Sterns and Kendall Watson, the Saskatchewan offensive assistant is excited to see the group reach their potential for the rest of the season and years to come.

It’s been a couple of seasons since Roosevelt exchanged the cleats for a headset as he transitioned from coach to player, but he still enjoys the unique interaction that is a part of Rider Nation.

He noted that it is great to see fans wearing jerseys with his name on them. It serves as evidence of Roosevelt’s impact on the team, particularly for players unaware of his on field career.

“Seeing my jersey for them (the players) was like, oh okay, he (Roosevelt) was pretty good.”

Even though his position has changed, Roosevelt still feels the special energy of the spirited crowd on game days.

“Game days for me are like, it’s time to go, it’s time to get ready, so I always got that game day type of feel whether I’m or not playing.”

Over five seasons in Saskatchewan (2015-19), the former Buffalo Bull and two-time member of the Bills surpassed the 1000-receiving-yard mark on a pair of occasions and ended his time as a Roughrider with 301 receptions, 4,134 yards, and 20 touchdowns.

As he continues to build up his coaching resume with the Roughriders, Roosevelt is looking to lead his own team as a head coach at some point in his coaching career.

“What I’m doing right now, is just learning all I can, learning from the coaches, learning from coach (Dickey), just the in and outs for the game.”

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