Lots of Roughrider links in today’s Grey Cup

In a battle of the red and blue from the Montreal Alouettes against the Blue and Gold from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, there are plenty of connections to the green and white in today’s Grey Cup battle.

That doesn’t include today’s entertainment during halftime, Green Day.

Several former members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be battling for a championship ring at Tim Horton’s Field at the 110th Grey Cup.

The two starting quarterbacks, Zach Collaros and Cody Fajardo, were teammates at one point with the Roughriders.

In 2019, Collaros entered as the starter for Saskatchewan before being injured in the first game of the season. Fajardo would take over, never relinquishing the starting duties.

QB Zach Collaros THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn Nick Iwanyshyn

Collaros would be dealt later that season to Toronto. Of course, the quarterback would be traded for the second time that season, this time to Winnipeg, where he would go on to find success with a pair of Grey Cup championships and now four appearances in the big game.

After three seasons, Fajardo’s tenure with Saskatchewan ended in 2022. He led the Roughriders to a pair of matchups against the Blue Bombers in the Western Final but fell short both times. Last season was disappointing for the entire organization, with the Roughriders finishing 6-12 and outside of the playoffs in a year when Saskatchewan was hosting the Grey Cup.

QB Cody Fajardo THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

In his final two games with the Roughriders, Fajardo watched from the sidelines with Mason Fine receiving the start at QB for Saskatchewan at the end of the 2022 campaign.

Darnell Sankey joined the Alouettes earlier this summer after he spent the beginning part of the year in the XFL, winning a championship with the Arlington Renegades. Sankey led the league in tackles (120) and was named the Roughriders nominee for both Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

Shawn Lemon was another late addition to the Alouettes roster, joining them in midseason. Lemon spent 2016 in Saskatchewan but has become one of the most prolific pass rushers in the league’s history, including surpassing the century mark in sacks this year.

Fullback James Tuck spent last year with the Roughriders before joining Montreal, playing 18 regular season games with the Alouettes.

Jake Harty spent two seasons in Saskatchewan (2021-22). He is listed in the Alouettes starting lineup for the Grey Cup.

Patrick Neufeld, a Regina native, was drafted by the Roughriders in 2010. He played for his hometown team for two seasons before joining Winnipeg, where he has achieved great success. In addition to winning the Grey Cup, Neufeld has been named a CFL All-Star three times.

OL Jemarcus Hardwick played eight games with Saskatchewan in 2015 before moving to Winnipeg the next season. Since the. He has claimed two CFL All-Star Awards with two grey cup rings.

Receiver Nic Demski returned to his hometown team after three years in Saskatchewan and was named the Most Outstanding Canadian in the 2021 Grey Cup.

Willie Jefferson joined the Blue Bombers in 2019 after three seasons with the green and white. A lot of the Blue Bombers’ recent success has been due to the contributions of the star defensive end. Jefferson was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019.

Both sidelines have former members of the Roughriders coaching staff.

Alouettes Head Coach Jason Maas joined Saskatchewan after being a head coach in Edmonton. He was dismissed by the team shortly after the 2022 season, with the Roughriders missing the playoffs. It didn’t take Maas long to find employment, becoming the man in charge in Montreal and leading the Alouettes to the Grey Cup final.

Richie Hall was a popular figure in Saskatchewan, both as a player (1988-91) and as a coach (1994-2000, 2011-14). Hall has established himself as a mainstay with the Blue Bombers, becoming the team’s defensive coordinator in 2015.

620 CKRM will have coverage of the Grey Cup beginning at 3:00.

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