5 runners released to pursue NFL opportunities

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REGINA – With the 2020 CFL season canceled, several Saskatchewan Roughriders are looking to head south to seek NFL employment. A new agreement between the CFL and CFLPA allows players to opt out of their contracts to pursue other opportunities. So far, five Riders players have given up their contracts.

JON RYAN

Jon Ryan will be looking to make a return to the NFL after a season back in Canada.

The Regina-born punter and former University of Regina Ram spent 12 seasons in the NFL and won a Superbowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

He played all 18 Riders games in 2019, shooting 107 punts for 5,222 yards. He was also named All Star of the West Division.

BRETT LAUTHER

Canadian Riders kicker Brett Lauther will also be looking to show off his leg for NFL teams.

The Nova Scotian made 32 of 41 field goal attempts in 2019, the longest at 57 yards.

He notably won the 2019 Labor Day Classic for the Greens and Whites with a field-winning goal at the last second.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Justin Medlock (9) congratulates Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther after Lauther’s winning goal in the CFL second half in Regina on Sunday, September 1, 2019. LA CANADIAN PRESS / Mark Taylor

Lauther was a 2018 CFL West Division All-Star and 2018 Riders Special Teams MVP and Outstanding Canadian Player.

DAKODA SHEPLEY

Dakoda Shepley, a 25-year-old offensive lineman from Windsor, Ont., Played 18 games in the 2019 season and was the Riders’ most outstanding rookie candidate. Shepley was selected fifth overall in the 2018 CFL Draft by the Riders.

He signed with the NFL New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2018, but was released after that preseason.

The Roughriders will retain his rights during the 2021 CFL season, if he returns to the league.

OTHER OPT OUTPUTS

Americans Deon Lacy and Demarcus Ayers also gave up their contracts. The two were signed in early 2020 and were unable to make it to the pitch with the team. The Riders retain Ayers rights until the 2021 season.

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