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Naaman Roosevelt seeks comeback with Saskatchewan Rough Riders

At times, it must have seen like a dream come true for Naaman Roosevelt – even the team’s results were nightmarish. After starring as a quarterback in high school, the Buffalo native went onto become an early recruit of a new regime at none other than the Metro Atlantic university located in his hometown.

One conference championship title and college degree later, Roosevelt got an invite as an drafted free agent to try out with – who else? – the Bills, the NFL team that he’d surely followed as a child. In his first NFL season of 2010, Roosevelt worked his way up from cut to practice squad to 53-man squad and some late-season playing time with those Bills. In ’11, the receiver saw more quality minutes and notched his first (and possibly only) NFL TD.

However, this was the beginning of the downside for what appears to be one brief NFL career. Cut from the Bills going into the next season, Roosevelt was OOF (Out Of Football) in 2012. Seeing essentially no action in 2013 – though signed by the Cleveland Browns – in the preseason, Roosevelt attempted to get with the Detroit Lions and the Bills again to no avail: It was another OOF on the stat line for Naaman in ’14.

And so for the first time in his career, Roosevelt is looking at suiting up and, you know, actually *getting out on the field* for a football team outside his hometown ever – not to mention looking at regular playing time after what amounts to a three-year hiatus from the game.

If he makes the final roster, that is.

Signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders puts Roosevelt among a group of some 13 candidates for this season’s receiving corps, including former University of North Dakota/one-time Denver Broncos signee Greg Hardin, who was signed in tandem with Naaman. While Roughriders management clearly wants to beef up last season’s receiving game, six of Sasketchewan’s top pass-catchers of 2014 are still aboard, with only Brett Swain dispatched in the offseason.

On one hand, Roosevelt can be presented as the proverbial plenty-upside WR, armed with a college degree, some experience and nearly all the gas left in the tank. The downside is of course all that rust: Should Roosevelt be on the Roughriders for the 2015 opener, 1½ years will have passed since he’s played a meaningful down.

Is this the end of the road? Is it back to Buffalo for early retirement? The dream now over, Naaman Roosevelt’s fate would appear to be squarely in his own hands. CFLpass wishes him luck in Saskatchewan.