Former Hawk dresses for CFL
On July 3, Alex Anthony found a travel bag sitting in his team locker. This is a treatment reserved for the top six receivers on the Saskatchewan Roughriders roster, and signified that he would be travelling with the team to Toronto for a regular season game. It was a tangible next step in his ascent through professional football.
An injury to receiver Chris Getzlaf opened the door for the former Wilfrid Laurier University football player, and though he did not have a large role in the game over the weekend, he reached his goal of breaking through the practice roster and onto the team.
“It was a really awesome experience. I travelled with the team last year during the pre-season when we went to Edmonton, but to actually be on the 44-man roster and to be travelling with the guys playing in the regular season was amazing,” Anthony said.
Anthony came to Laurier as a wide receiver, travelling 4,000 kilometres from Victoria, B.C. to play for the Golden Hawks.
Throughout his four years at Laurier he racked up over 800 total receiving yards. It was enough for the Roughriders to take notice, as they selected him with the third pick in the fifth round of the 2013 CFL draft.
Over the past year, Anthony said he has cherished the opportunity to play in Saskatchewan.
“I was definitely excited to be drafted to the Roughriders because they are Canada’s top CFL team. It’s a very special place to play, which makes it very exciting on game days,” he said.
Living in Saskatchewan was an adjustment for Anthony, but he said it was not a very hard one.
“I absolutely love the province. The people of Saskatchewan are very welcoming and a very supportive community. Everyone lives and dies for the Roughriders out here,” he said.
During the 2013 season, Anthony remained on the practice roster, and continued to improve. He believes it is due to the attention to detail provided in professional football.
“Coming to meetings every single day and breaking the game film down to the most minute things has helped. Knowing your opponent as well as your own team really helps you to master your craft. It allows you to not have to think too much because everything is just second nature,” he said.
According to Anthony, his four years playing under former Laurier head coach Gary Jeffries helped push him to where he is today.
“It taught me to not only be accountable for myself, but everyone around me,” he said. “However, the most important lesson that Coach Jeff taught me that I live by every day was that, no matter what you are doing, hard work will always prevail.”
As Anthony enjoys his success at the professional level, he had some words of wisdom for those that wish to follow in his footsteps.
“No one is going to be as big of a critic on your game as you are. Never be satisfied with where you are at right now, because there is always room for improvement. Always stay motivated and have the end goal in mind.”