Riders ready to open pre-season with new CBA signed
In his first year in the Canadian Football League, Levi Steinhauer and the Saskatchewan Roughriders won a Grey Cup.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Levi Steinhauer, centre, takes part in the Riders' pre-game walkthrough Wednesday at Mosaic Stadium last season..
Now heading into his second season, Steinhauer’s ambition is make the starting lineup.
“I am just looking forward to going into the first pre-season game and just show what I have done throughout the off-season,” said Steinhauer. “I want to win that job that I am trying to go for right now.”
Steinhauer will be the starting long snapper for the Riders in their pre-season game today against the Ottawa RedBlacks. He will mostly like be the starter this season after Cory Huclack retired in the off-season.
Throughout the off-season, the 23-year-old Moose Jaw native worked hard on improving himself and getting stronger.
“I tried to add a little bit of weight this off-season and I worked pretty hard at that. I just wanted to focus more on long snapping,” he said. “I knew that was where this season was hopefully headed. I worked on that a fair bit and I’m hoping that will show.”
The Riders have been up in Saskatoon for the past two weeks, where they held training camp.
Despite some off-season changes with Kory Sheets and Weston Dressler heading to the National Football League, Steinhauer is comfortable with where the team is headed.
“It has been a good two weeks and we have been working really hard. We look good at this point, I think,” he said. “We have a really good dynamic going right now. We had a good camp and we are all ready to get going and get these pre-season games going and get the season underway. I am really looking forward to that.”
After reaching and winning the Grey Cup in his rookie season, Steinhauer had to deal with something completely different heading into his second season. The new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which was just ratified by both the players and the league, was a learning process for Steinhauer.
“Last season we went all the way to the Grey Cup and winning it was a big thing. It is a lot to do in your first season. It was very enjoyable and it was a great first season,” he explained. “And now this season with the CBA, there was a lot to know there. It is going to affect us young guys and our future. It was a lot, but you grow up quickly and look more into the future.”
Having the CBA negotiations ongoing throughout camp was distracting, but Steinhauer tried his best to focus on his on-field duties and allow the team representatives to do their work.
“It was a little bit distracting all throughout camp because it was always looming there, but it is done now — whether good or bad — so, we will take what we got now and go from there,” he said. “It is now about getting into the season and get things going.”
The coaching staff also helped keep him and his fellow players focused on getting prepared for the new season.
“They just kept us on track,” he said. “Even throughout the off-season, they stayed in contact and in training camp, they told us to forget about the CBA and let that work itself out and just concentrate on what we can and focus on what is ahead of us. They kept us on track really well and I think it will pay off.”
Although the Riders have undergone multiple changes from the team that won the Grey Cup in Regina last season, the goal remains the same.
“The goal every year is to get back to the Grey Cup and try and win the Grey Cup,” said Steinhauer. “That is our ultimate goal.”
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiebrickman.