Anthony Allen never really considered he’d return to the Roughriders, but he hung on to some green and white just in case.
It turned out to be the right decision, since the running back rejoined the Roughriders on Friday, less than 24 hours after assistant general manager Jeremy O’Day called him and asked if he wanted to come to camp.
“Everything happened so fast,” Allen continued. “I’m so glad to be back part of Riderville, I’ve always said this is my favourite place to be.”
Allen spent time with the Riders in 2014 and 2015, rushing for 1,504 yards and 8 touchdowns in 28 games, though also struggled with fumbles at times.
However, head coach Chris Jones saw a lot of benefits to bringing Allen in.
“He’s a guy that’s got experience, he averages five yards a carry for his career and he’s got some good size and he didn’t mind blocking,” Jones said, adding he also felt Allen had good character and was “pretty smart.”
Even so, Allen feels like he has something to prove. Last year, he split the running back role in B.C. with Jeremiah Johnson posting 463 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He became a free agent on Feb. 14, 2017.
“I always feel like I have something to prove, just from off that first year (2014) when we were leading the league in rushing and then the last two years … everything just went down a little bit,” he admitted.
But now that’s he’s here, he feels like he can compete with the other backs and hopes to push for the starting position.
“I’m kind of a genius so it only takes me two or three days to pick up offence anyway,” he joked.
“It’s a great offence, it’s a complicated offence, but they simplified it enough so I could get it these first couple of days.”
Allen was planning on studying the playbook Friday afternoon and meeting with running backs coach Kent Maugeri so he can be ready to take some reps at Saturday’s Green and White game at Saskatoon Minor Football Field.
“I flew dang near across the continent to get here and I’m ready.”
And he’s not taking his second chance as a Roughrider for granted, either.
“I was just sitting back being regular and finally got a chance to be a superhero again, so I’m like ‘let’s do it.’”