“Way to remind me,” Darian Durant said with a bit of smile when asked how he’s feeling one year after his season ending Achilles injury.
“It’s something I’m trying to forget.”
And so, too, is the Rider Nation. When Durant went down during a seemingly harmless play the first game of the regular season, so did the season itself. The team finished an abysmal 3 and 15. And it became apparent that in many ways the fate of the franchise rests on Durant’s shoulders. Though he said he tries not to look at it that way.
“I just try to look at myself as one piece of the puzzle. One guy out of 12 or 22 out there on the field that can help the team win,” he said.
But he also realizes that in the CFL, the quarterback is king.
“I’ve been blessed with the talent to be able to hold a franchise together, so (I’m) just looking forward to getting out there.”
Injuries aside, “getting out there” comes with a new set of challenges, like a new coach, new playbook and a lot of new teammates.
“There’s a lot of new faces,” said wide receiver Shamawd Chambers – who himself is one of them.
“You want to be able to definitely get a feel for Darian. Obviously, we got a lot of time in camp, but not as much time as we could have because there’s a lot of people who get a lot of reps.”
“It’s definitely a little different when you’re getting acclimated to so many different guys,” Durant agreed, but he added he’s been in the league long enough to know that turnover happens.
“To be able to build that chemistry, it’s been tough, but we’re getting there and I like where we are right now.”
Durant said he is ready to roll on Thursday and over the hurdle every player needs to jump after they’ve been injured, and for what it’s worth Chambers has been impressed with what he’s seen from his quarterback too.
“He looks great, he looks like he’s ready and primed to go so I think everyone in the province should be really excited for what we put out on the field,” Chambers said.