As the Roughriders prepare for their final game of the season, weeks after being eliminated from the playoffs, the players are still finding motivation to win.
For the first time since 2011, the players and coaches know that this will be their final week together as a group. Every season comes to an end, but the hope is always that you don’t know when the day will come.
“Especially when you don’t have any playoffs or anything after that, it’s hard,” said running back Anthony Allen.
“Just remembering, we’re here to play football. This is the reason why we’re here. Regardless of when you plan to go home or what your plans are for the off-season.”
Six other CFL teams will play at least one more game this year. Five of those teams are playing this week and will have plenty of motivation as they start getting ready for the playoffs.
The Riders will have to dig a bit deeper to try to find their own motivation this week.
“I’m just so fortunate to be able to play this game. I feel like I’m blessed and privileged to be playing a game I’ve wanted to play since I was kid,” said Allen. “There’s guys that are at home that don’t have this opportunity that I have.”
Allen was one player that clearly still cared last week against the Calgary Stampeders. The Florida native was fighting for every yard he could, even if there wasn’t much to play for.
Allen, a pending free-agent this off-season, was not only motivated by his love for the game but family as well.
“Unfortunately, my dad has cancer. I watching him battle that. Every day he gets up fighting the pain and having to deal with going to the doctors,” he said. “I’ll I have to do is come to treatment and meetings in the morning. I take it as a blessing.”
This week could also be the final week for the team’s interim head coach Bob Dyce. In the last few weeks of the season he’s been telling the players that their film is their resume. For Dyce, how hard his team plays is a part of his resume.
Even though Sunday could be it for him, Dyce isn’t approaching this week any differently.
“We want to win. We want to make sure we’re prepared, make sure the coaches have the guys prepared so we can put out our best effort out on the field and have a win in Montreal,” he said.
With just one game left, the players hope they can give their coach one more win this season.
“Because we all love coach Dyce,” said offensive lineman Chris Best. “He’s done everything he could for us. We want to send him out on a high note.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Dyce announced after practice on Wednesday that Keith Price will start at quarterback on Sunday. Dyce suggested that was the plan all along as they want to see how Price handles the week as a starter. Brett
Smith could still see some time under centre.
Linebacker Jeff Knox Jr. did not practice on Wednesday but will return to practice on Thursday.
Receiver Chris Getzlaf and safety Keenan MacDougall won’t play in Montreal. Getzlaf re-aggravated his injured foot, while MacDougall injured his shoulder. Defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth status is unknown after he was also injured in Calgary. Macho Harris injured his heel last week in practice.
With so many injuries to Canadians, the Riders signed defensive lineman Ryan Wellman and defensive back Hugo Lopez on Wednesday.