Brett Lauther’s joyous off-season has been full of long-term commitments.
On December 23, he successfully proposed to Jill Swenson, to whom the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ placement specialist was introduced shortly after kicking a game-winning field goal in the 2019 Labour Day Classic.
On Monday, the Roughriders announced that Lauther — a full-time member of the CFL team since 2018 — had signed a contract extension of uncommon duration.
“I got engaged and now I have a three-year deal,” said Lauther, 33, who is now making plans to purchase a house in Regina.
“Not only that, I’ve done more travelling in the last couple of months than I had done in my whole life. Getting to see a bunch of different places and have different experiences, life has been great and I have no complaints.
“I don’t think I could have a bad day if I tried.”
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There hasn’t been a better day than September 1, 2019, when Lauther’s last-play, 26-yard field goal gave Saskatchewan a 19-17 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Upon splitting Mosaic Stadium’s north-end uprights, Lauther sprinted the length of the field — with holder Jon Ryan close behind — and celebrated the walk-off field-goal with the fans in Pil Country.
Amid the pandemonium, Lauther could not have dreamed that an already memorable day had not yet approached its peak.
“It’s funny,” he reflected. “After that Labour Day kick in 2019, I met Jill through mutual friends at a party after the game. I didn’t know that she was coming to the party or who she was or anything.
“We talked a little from there and didn’t think much of it at the time. It just kept going. We started dating afterwards and it kept getting more serious. A few years later, we’re engaged.
“Jill actually has the ticket from that game framed, which is pretty cool.”
The Pil Plunge kick is an example of Lauther’s uncanny excellence in the clutch.
Since becoming a Roughrider, he is 11-for-11 when attempting a go-ahead field goal or 32-yard convert in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter or in overtime.
On August 6, for example, Lauther kicked a 54-yarder with 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give Saskatchewan a 26-24 victory over the visiting Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Overall, he is the most accurate kicker in Roughriders history, taking into account everyone who has attempted at least 100 field goals. His success rate: 83.9 per cent.
Lauther has also excelled off the field, as evidenced by the fact that he was the 2023 recipient of the Tom Pate Memorial Award. Each year, the award is given to the CFL Players’ Association member who best demonstrates supreme sportsmanship and exemplary contributions to his team and community.
In that spirit, Lauther is spearheading the second annual Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic charity hockey game, to be played February 3 in Saskatoon (12:30 p.m. CT, Merlis Belsher Place).
Given Lauther’s attachment to the province and numerous good causes, he made it a priority to re-sign with the Roughriders instead of becoming a free agent on February 13.
“I definitely wanted, or at least hoped for, something a little longer-term,” Lauther said. “There wasn’t really much push-back.”
Because of the mutual desire to consummate a deal, Lauther’s agent (Rob Fry) and the Roughriders’ general manager and vice-president of football operations (Jeremy O’Day) were able to reach an agreement.
“We went back and forth for a bit, like anything, but I’m pretty lucky to get the deal done,” Lauther said. “Big thanks to not only my agent, but also to (O’Day) and Kyle (Carson, Assistant GM) and obviously everyone in the whole organization. I’m only here because of those guys.
“I couldn’t be more thankful to be here in this province and to call this home for the next three years.”
There was a time when Lauther wasn’t sure about what the next three days would bring.
After being drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, he bounced around the CFL for five years before finally finding a home in Saskatchewan.
He became entrenched as the Roughriders’ kicker during a 2018 season in which he made 54 of 60 field-goal attempts — the accuracy rate (90 per cent) being the second-best in franchise history — and earned West Division All-Star laurels.
Having experienced the other end of the spectrum, Lauther appreciates having about as much security as someone can enjoy in Canadian professional football.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, either, especially with the way things worked out,” he said.
“Getting to wear the green is such a privilege. Having the opportunity to do it for three more years, I just couldn’t be happier right now.