Hey bro, what’s up? What’s it gonna take to get you here?
That’s the text message Naaman Roosevelt received from Vernon Adams a few days before agreeing with our Montreal Alouettes. The two have known each other since 2017, when they both bore Saskatchewan’s colours, and they couldn’t be happier to be reunited.
“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 says. “I know what kind of guy he is. He’s a playmaker, he’s incredibly exciting to watch and even more to play with!”
More Than Just a Target
The duo is certainly expected to give our opponents a run for their money in 2020. While VA is headed into his first pro season as the official starting QB, Roosevelt, a 5-year veteran, is coming out of a 946-yards season with the Roughriders. At 31 years old, he suited up for all 18 games last year, helping his team both on and off the field. Considering all pass catchers of our crew are still under 30, aside from BJ Cunningham who will be turning 31 this year, Roosevelt’s role may in fact go beyond route running and ball grabbing. His presence in the meeting room could help shape up our squad of rising stars.
“I always make sure to be 100% available for my team,” Roosevelt answered when asked what type of leader he is. “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’s low-maintenance and no ego approach will certainly make him a great fit for our group of diligent workers. Still, after spending five years in Regina, where Roughriders are truly placed on a pedestal, the well-known receiver may experience a culture shock when he moves to the big city. Nothing he’s personally worried about though.
“The fans in Sask are great. Some drive five to six hours to attend games. People recognize you everywhere you go! But I’ve seen what’s going on in Montreal. We hadn’t seen a packed and animated stadium like that over there in a while. I’m really excited to be part of the revival that’s being led by a great quarterback and a great coach.”
Heading Back East
With the minimum wage increase and the salary cap hardly being adjusted, it’s been a tough year for veteran players. Particularly receivers (I mean, who would have thought Derel Walker would still be out of a contract!). But although it took a while for his name to be taken off the free agent list, Roosevelt was never worried about landing a job. He pretty much had his sights set on Montreal the entire time and our GM, Danny Maciocia, was just as motivated to make it work. Since agreeing on the terms of his new deal, Roosevelt has been studying the plays VA sent him in addition to doing yoga three times a week, hitting the basketball court nearly every day and working out. The man will be ready to crack our roster come May.
“I’m looking forward to battling it out against Henoc, whom I also played with in Sask, but also with Greg Reid and Money Hunter. 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 BJ Cunningham. The group just seems like it has so much fun and it shows on the field.”
As a bonus, Roosevelt might get to see his mother in the stands a little more often too. Returning to the East Coast was definitely a factor the Buffalo-native considered when choosing his next destination. He also says he wants to learn French… We’ll believe it when we hear it.