Roughriders kicker Paul McCallum officially pulled a green and white jersey over his head for the first time since returning to Saskatchewan.
McCallum hit the field and practiced with his new old team on Friday.
“It’s different but it’s good,” he said.
“(It’s) unexpected, obviously, the way things happened in Vancouver. But, I’m happy to be playing and I couldn’t have come back to a better team.”
This practice marked the first time McCallum had worn a Rider jersey of any kind since the 2005 season.
It’s a reunion that seemed nearly improbable after the off-field incident in 2004. After leaving, McCallum admitted he didn’t want to leave Saskatchewan. Now, he hopes the return proves that to be true.
“I’ve got lots of good memories from here. Raising my kids here at a young age. All the friends, I still have a lots of friends,” said McCallum.
“All the bad ones, I put those behind me like when I miss a field goal.”
Perhaps the biggest question mark surrounding McCallum is something completely out of his control.
At 45 years old, McCallum doesn’t feel his age will be a factor. The former Lion feels he’s still got it.
“Watch me. I mean, that’s all I can do,” he said.
“People are going to put my age on it and I get that. If I can still do the job and I told you I was 60, would it matter?”
If McCallum didn’t feel he could do it, he would have retired.
That doesn’t stop the team from having some fun at their oldest teammate’s expense.
“When he walked in, one of the players thought he was someone’s dad to see where he (was),” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
“We’ve been messing with Paul all day. We called him fresh meat and he reminded us that he was already here before.”
Since being released by B.C., McCallum hasn’t been too preoccupied waiting for the phone to ring. He figured if he was given a chance to play it would be great. If not, so be it.
Either way, he was keeping his leg warm just in case.
“I’ve been kicking probably once a week trying to still keep my leg moving,” he said.
McCallum did confirm that there was interest from another team in the CFL but didn’t say which team that was. Just like when Kerry Joseph returned to the Riders last year, McCallum sees this opportunity as a chance to put a good wrap on his career.
“If people had bad thoughts of why I left. I think it’s good. It’s a nice way to end it.”
News and Notes
There could be plenty of changes coming to the Riders depth chart this week.
First, kicker Chris Milo will be listed on the 46-man roster but will be one of the team’s scratches. His future at this point still remains unclear.
After leaving practice on Wednesday, defensive lineman Tearrius George was limited on Friday. Derek Walker took a number of reps in his place. According to the CFL’s transactions page, Walker has been removed from the team’s six-game injured list.
It appears that linebacker Jake Doughty, defensive back Tyree Hollins, defensive back Michael Carter and receiver Seydou Junior Haidara could all see time on the field on Sunday.
Linebacker Shea Emry is doubtful for next week according to Chamblin. He’s been listed as week-to-week.