REGINA — After testing the free agent market for just under two weeks, Ricky Foley has found a new home in Saskatchewan.
And he couldn’t be more excited.
“It’s amazing, I never would have expected all this,” said Foley when asked about how his first few hours as a Roughrider were.
“I heard the reputation about Saskatchewan being a great organization and good to their players. It’s amazing, I already feel like it’s my home,” he added.
Foley arrives in his new home after literally spending the last three seasons in his own backyard in Toronto. Last season saw him pick up 35 tackles and three sacks during the regular season and star during the playoffs, registering seven tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery en-route to being named the Most Valuable Canadian of the 100th Grey Cup. While leaving a place where he’s enjoyed so much success was a difficult choice for the 30-year-old rush end to make, he’s excited to see what the next chapter in his career will bring.
“Honestly, it came down to personal touch. It’s hard to leave Toronto, it’s my hometown, we won the Grey Cup there last year,” he said.
“But (the Roughriders) made me feel at home. (Head Coach Corey Chamblin), (Defensive Coordinator Richie Hall) and Mr. Taman all made me feel like I was really wanted out here. They really believe in me.”
Throughout the process of choosing a destination for 2013 and beyond, Foley kept in touch with Geroy Simon who was acquired by the Riders in a shocking trade with the Lions in January.
Foley admits that like Simon, he lands in Saskatchewan with a chip on his shoulder hoping to prove to his doubters that he still has a lot to offer as a player. “Speaking to Geroy through the whole process, we spoke about the opportunity here and we both have a bit of a chip on our shoulders right now. The teams that we used to play for might think that our best days are behind us or something,” he said.
“Saskatchewan has opened their arms and accepted us and I think they’re looking forward to us showing a few people what we have left,” he added.
Foley’s best season was in 2009 when he racked up a whopping 12 sacks and 51 tackles as a member of the BC Lions, winning Most Outstanding Canadian honours in the process.
Since then, however, Foley hasn’t quite been able to duplicate those numbers, collecting a total of 10 sacks in three seasons since then.
Despite the dip in his stats, Foley is still confident that he’ll be able to contribute in a positive fashion.
“The one thing I’ve learned as I’ve matured as a person and a player is that I was a little too focused on (stats) and my personal success in the past,” said Foley on the question of returning to his 2009 form.
“I’m not really focused on that; I know I’m a better player than I was in ’09 and I don’t think I’ve really had the chance to show that over the last few years of my career and I’m looking forward to that opportunity here.
“Whether it’s 12 sacks, five sacks or 20 sacks, I’m a better player and I think I’m going to show that next year for the Riders.”