There was no other acceptable option for Antwane Grant but to be a Saskatchewan Roughrider.
“I came with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I didn't stick around in the NFL, I knew when I came here I wanted to stick around. I wanted to be here for sure.”
The 24-year-old wide receiver was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016, but didn't end up cracking the final roster. As luck would have it, however, his agent was friends with Roughriders head coach Chris Jones and scheduled him a one-on-one workout with him.
That workout led to an invite to mini-camp in Florida, then main camp in Saskatoon before eventually he joined the team's practice roster, waiting in the wings for his opportunity.
“Coach and them always told me I was the next receiver up type deal so ... they always knew I was ready, it was just a matter of when my number's called,” Grant said.
And his number has been called. With a shoulder injury sidelining Caleb Holley, Grant's opportunity comes on Saturday against Hamilton.
“It's unfortunate for Caleb because he was having a good year so far, and we're certainly hoping to get him back as soon as possible,” Jones said.
Holley has 129 receiving yards this year and a touchdown, but has now been moved to the six-game injured list after re-injuring the same short he hurt in training camp about a month ago.
Fortunately, the Roughriders have a strong receiving corps.
“We do have a good young man to replace him” Jones said of Grant.
“He's a guy that can really catch the football, he can catch the football one-handed (and) he's physical at the point of attack, so that's kind of why we liked him so much is he had good strong hands.”
Grant said he hopes that the transition between him and Holley can be seamless.
“Make sure the offence doesn't miss a beat. I'm looking to step in and do my job,” he said.
And after the heartbreak of not making the NFL, he's ready to make the most of the opportunity.
“It means everything,” he said. “I'm looking forward to it.”
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