With that, John Chick was once again a Saskatchewan Roughrider. After leaving the team to pursue the NFL at the end of the 2009 season, Chick was wearing green and white again as the Roughriders opened up their 2013 training camp.
The free agent agreed to terms last Saturday morning, ending months of negotiations to lure the CFL’s defensive player back to the team where he became a star. He was more than happy to get back out on the field.
“I’m back to where I’m having fun, I love doing what I’m doing and I’m back with some guys that I know and love getting ready to take this journey to the 101st Grey Cup,” Chick said after the team’s first practice. “I really wanted to be here in time for those first meetings so I’m glad we got everything done.”
Chick tried to keep his NFL dream alive after getting released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he’s not disappointed to see that dream come to a halt.
“Absolutely not,” Chick responded when asked the question. “I could have sat back and waited like a lot of other players hoping to find work in the NFL who are free agents and get picked up in the pre-season or the regular season, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to get to playing football and have a great time doing that. My wife felt the same way and she was all for the Rider deal so we just said let’s do it, no more waiting. Head coach Corey Chamblin was happy knowing Chick was finally in the stable.
“I didn’t get a chance to watch him a lot,” Chamblin admitted. “The coaches said they were impressed with what he saw. He’s not flashy, but he’s going to work hard every down. We’re certainly glad to have him. He’s a good player and I’m glad that everything worked out in time.”
Chick wouldn’t get into how many other teams were in the running for his services, but he says at the end of the day, he is right where he wants to be because he knows what it will be like continuing his football career as a member of the Riders.
“This is home,” Chick stated. “I loved my three years here and I had three great years. I love Rider Pride and I love the community. The people here are so great. It was our first choice and I’m glad everything worked out. I just know I’m going to have a great time here again.”
While there is a lot of excitement in having the 30-year-old back in Rider Green, there are questions about whether or not he has lost anything having gone through a major knee injury while aging. Chick says you don’t have to worry on either front.
“I feel great!“ Chick said.
“The injury is a thing of the past and I think I come back now a much better player than I was because I learned so much in the NFL. I’m just ready to go through training camp and get back to playing the game I love.”
The Riders will remain in Saskatoon for two-a-day practices before heading to Edmonton for their first pre-season game on Friday, June 14 in Edmonton with the home pre-season game going six days later against Calgary.