The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiving corps has received a boost with Duke Williams and Shaq Evans being activated for Saturday’s key game against the host Calgary Stampeders.
Williams , a 2018 all-star with the Edmonton Elks, signed with the Riders on Oct. 4 after a two-year stint with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Evans , who was the Riders’ leading receiver and a CFL all-star in 2019, will dress after being sidelined with a broken foot that he suffered in Week 2.
Williams is listed on the depth chart as a boundary slotback. Evans returns to his familiar position as a boundary wide receiver.
“We’re happy to have them both,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said during Zoom call with reporters on Friday. “They’ve both had good weeks of practice, but we have to be smart about our expectations because Shaq’s coming off a foot injury. He’s well and he wouldn’t be playing if he wasn’t, but you know he hasn’t played in two months. It has also been a while for Duke. We expect them to play well when they’re out there and I think they will.”
Dickenson confirmed that defensive end A.C. Leonard is expected to start on Saturday. Leonard was doubtful after tweaking a knee during Wednesday’s practice and left Thursday’s closed practice early. Leonard was moving better on Friday, which cleared the way for him to be on the active roster.
“He’s a veteran player and a lot of times you lean on their opinion as much as anything,” Dickenson said. “There isn’t anything structurally wrong with the knee. He feels like he can go, so he’ll be in the line up on Saturday.”
Also being activated are defensive backs Jeremy Clark and Jacob Dearborn, defensive end Keion Adams and receiver/returner Rashard Davis.
Not on the roster for Saturday’s game are defensive backs Blace Brown and Christian Campbell, linebackers Justin Herdman-Reed and Godfrey Onyeka, receiver Ricardo Louis and running back/returner Jamal Morrow.
Brown (shoulder), Campbell (hamstring) and Onyeka (back) have all been placed on the six-game injured list. Dickenson said that Brown will likely need season-ending surgery on the shoulder. Campbell’s hamstring will also take time to heal and the same goes for Onyeka’s back.
Herdman-Reed (groin) is on the one-game injured list. Defensive back Elie Bouka, who wasn’t listed among the roster changes, is on the one-game injured list after injuring his back in Wednesday’s practice. Louis (undisclosed) has also been added to the one-game injured list.
Morrow has been placed on the practice roster. Davis is expected to see action as a returner against the Stampeders. Davis, who signed with the Riders on Sept. 16, has had NFL stints with Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans.
“We wanted to give Rashard a shot because he’s had a couple of good weeks of practice,” Dickenson said. “We feel like he’s got a little juice to him and an extra gear. We want to see what he can do, so he’s going to get an opportunity.”
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