CFL Pass

Roosevelt bringing veteran leadership to Als

MONTREAL — Just days before signing with the Montreal Alouettes in free agency, receiver Naaman Roosevelt got a text message from emerging star quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.

“Hey bro, what’s up? What’s it gonna take to get you here?” Adams said.

Roosevelt and Adams are no strangers to one another. The pair spent time together with the Saskatchewan Roughriders back in 2017, and the 32-year-old pass-catcher couldn’t be happier to reunite with the pivot.

“When you have a quarterback that can move around like that and is so comfortable on his feet, it makes a receiver’s job much easier. You have more time to get open,” Roosevelt said to “I know what kind of guy he is. He’s a playmaker, he’s incredibly exciting to watch and even more to play with!”

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Montreal will be just the second team that Roosevelt has played for in his CFL career. He’s spent the first five years of his career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

He’s featured in 67 games in his CFL career, hauling in 301 balls for 4,134 yards and 20 touchdowns over that span.

Roosevelt has hit the 1,000-yard plateau on two occasions so far (2016, 2017) and came up just short of the feat this past season with the Riders.

He made 77 catches for 946 yards and a single score while playing alongside Shaq Evans and Kyran Moore, among others.

Roosevelt is one of two offensive signings for the Als this off-season — with running back Tyrell Sutton being the other. The pair is expected to come in and help add some extra excitement to an Als offence that was potent in 2019.

The team made sure to lock up Adams to lead the offence after he was named the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player. Montreal also locked up star receiver Eugene Lewis for another season, which should give the team a solid one-two punch.

With the departure of DeVier Posey, Roosevelt will be expected to carry a heavier offensive workload, something he’s shown to have no issue with previously. Down the stretch in 2019, he became a safe every-down option for first-year starter Cody Fajardo to throw to.

Despite only having a single major on the year, Roosevelt still found ways to be dangerous every time he was on the field, something he tries to bestow on his teammates.

“I always make sure to be 100 percent available for my team,” Roosevelt said. “I tell my teammates, ‘even if you’re not getting the ball out there, make sure you’re blocking for other receivers, for your quarterback, for the running back.’ I aim to be the hardest-working player so it rubs off on others.”

Roosevelt said that since signing with the Als, he’s been learning some plays that Adams has sent him while working out and preparing for the campaign ahead. He has several connections on the squad and is looking forward to going up against the Montreal defence once camp opens in a few months.

“I’m looking forward to battling it out against Henoc (Muamba), whom I also played with in Sask, but also with Greg Reid and Money Hunter,” Roosevelt said. “Reid talked a lot on the field last year and Hunter and I had a good rivalry going on in the West. It’ll also be fun to reconnect with my guy, Spencer Moore, and with B.J. Cunningham. The group just seems like it has so much fun and it shows on the field.”

With head coach Khari Jones and Adams locked in long-term — not the mention the Als’ new-look head office — it’s looking like the Als are heading towards contention for years to come. Roosevelt could be one of the key pieces to help the Als make it even further in the postseason in 2020.

– With files from


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