Roughriders QB Cody Fajardo declares himself fit to play after concussion scare

REGINA — Saskatchewan Roughriders fans can breathe easier. Quarterback Cody Fajardo has declared himself ready to play.

© Provided by The Canadian Press

Fajardo’s status for Friday’s home game against the Toronto Argonauts was in question this week. 

The quarterback was concussed in the second quarter of Saturday’s 33-9 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. 

The back of Fajardo’s head struck the turf when he was sacked by Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson. 

The Riders QB sat out the rest of the game under the CFL’s concussion protocol. He took limited reps during practice this week.

“Throughout the week I progressed nicely, didn’t have any setbacks, didn’t have problems sleeping, no problems remembering plays,” Fajardo said Thursday. “I went through all the protocols, talked to the doctor and made the best decision for me.

“If I’m healthy enough and willing and ready to play, then I should be out on the field to help our team win a football game.”

Roughriders receiver Kyran Moore is thrilled Fajardo feels good to go.

“It means a lot because Cody is our leader,” Moore said. “Even though we have got lots of faith in Isaac (Harker), having Cody back on the field gives us a certain level of confidence.”

After a 3-0 start, Saskatchewan have lost two in a row to the Blue Bombers. The Roughriders haven’t scored a touchdown in their last 31 possessions.

Fajardo remains confident and patient.

“We’re very inexperienced in terms of offence,” the quarterback said. “I believe seven of our 12 starters are in a first-time starting role. 

“A lot of people might compare us to our 2019 numbers but we’ve kind of been hurt with injuries and a lot of the guys that are playing weren’t starters in 2019. There’s going to be some growing pains.

“It’s not going to be all lollipops and unicorns for us.”

Moore takes the touchdown drought personally, however.

“It bothers me a lot,” he said. “I look at myself as a playmaker, so if nobody can get into the end zone, then I need to get into the end zone.

“With us not scoring a touchdown in either of the past two games, it makes me sick to my stomach. I really can’t wait until tomorrow to get back on track.”

Saskatchewan fans are familiar with half a dozen Argos who previously called Mosaic Stadium home field: defensive end Charleston Hughes, linebacker Cameron Judge, offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek, linebacker Henoc Muamba, safety Crezdon Butler and slotback Ricky Collins.

“I’m definitely excited about playing there again,” said Judge, who signed with Toronto in February after three seasons with Saskatchewan. 

“The environment there is pretty unmatched in the league. It’ll definitely be exciting to be on the other side of the field this time around.”

Toronto safety Josh Hagerty and offensive lineman Theren Churchill have Regina ties. 

Hagerty grew up in Saskatchewan’s capital city before attending the University of Saskatchewan. Churchill suited up for the University of Regina Rams.

The Argos are coming off a narrow 17-16 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week.

Roughriders defensive lineman A.C. Leonard was suspended an additional game Thursday because of verbal abuse and unacceptable behaviour towards doping control officers. 

Leonard was previously suspended for two games for failing to provide a sample for drug testing.


Friday, Mosaic Stadium

TALE OF TWO KICKERS: Saskatchewan’s Brett Lauther and Toronto’s Boris Bede are trending in opposite directions. Lauther started the season hitting all 10 field-goal attempts, but was 4-for-7 in the last two games. After going 2-for-5 to start the season, Bede was successful on his last five field-goal kicks.

COACHING CAROUSEL: The Argos changed their coaching staff this week. Defensive co-ordinator Glen Young and defensive backs coach Josh Bell are on leave due to personal matters, says head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. Veteran coach Rich Stubler will be Toronto’s defensive co-ordinator Friday.

IS HE OR ISN’T HE?: Rumours of Chris Jones returning to the CFL as a member of Toronto’s coaching staff remain unconfirmed. The former head coach in Edmonton and Saskatchewan resigned as head coach of a Tennessee high school team this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.

Jeff DeDekker, The Canadian Press

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