THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Eric Rogers was very briefly a Redblack, now he's a Stamps star
CALGARY – Remember Wallace Miles, Marcus Henry, Dobson Collins, Jamill Smith and Matt Carter, all receivers with the expansion 2014 Ottawa Redblacks?
Remember Eric Rogers from that same team? Right, you don’t. The Calgary Stampeders star receiver didn’t even make it to training camp in 2014 — he was cut a month earlier by the Redblacks after their mini camp in Virginia.
Now 28, Rogers obviously has plenty of talent. In 2015, he had 87 catches for 1,448 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last year, he had 36 catches for 499 yards in half a season, with three touchdown catches in Calgary’s 22-14 West Final win over Winnipeg. In between, there was a stopover with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers — a torn ACL ruined that opportunity.
So what happened, why did Ottawa cut him after such a brief look?
“We really just did 1-on-1s and 7-on-7 (at the mini camp),” said Rogers Friday. “I was new to the CFL, there wasn’t really much coaching. I was just a rookie. Being a new team, I feel like they wanted to have more veteran players they wouldn’t have to coach as much. I just went out, ran my routes and got cut the day after getting home.”
Rogers played for Portland in the Arena Football League, then was signed by the Stampeders. He gave everyone a glimpse of what he could do late that season before breaking out in 2015.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that going into Ottawa in 2015 — the first time I played them—I had a bit more pep in my step,” said Rogers, who had six catches for 124 yards and a touchdown in a 29-26 overtime loss to the Redblacks that game. “I definitely wanted to let my presence be felt in Ottawa.”
He’s hoping to put it all together in 2019, starting with Saturday’s home game against the Redblacks.
“I believe as a player you can always get a little better, especially in the mental part of the game,” he said. “I still get here early, I try to get the scripts for the practices. I try to be a pro’s pro, take after guys like Smitty (Brandon Smith) and (Jamar) Wall – they’re on top of it, they’ve been around this league for a long time. Bo (quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell) is here at 5-something in the morning, if he can do it, I can come in early, too.”
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