The Saskatchewan Roughriders' single season tackles leader is coming back to the team after a stint in the National Football League over the offseason.
International linebacker Jeff Knox Jr. signed with the Riders on Monday after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
Knox said the decision to return to Saskatchewan was pretty easy to make.
“I bleed green, simple as that,” said Knox, who added that he had other offers from team’s in the CFL, but chose to return to Saskatchewan.
“It’s great to be back, this is like home, so it’s just like coming back home.”
In 2015, Knox led the Riders’ defence with a team-record 114 defensive tackles and was named the team’s Most Outstanding Player, Defensive Player and Rookie.
Last season, the 25-year-old posted 65 defensive tackles and 20 special teams tackles, but he decided to try his hand at the NFL after the season, signing with Tampa Bay in Jan.
“It went great (in Tampa Bay), I was probably one of the last guys that they released and it just came down to a numbers game,” said Knox.
“I learned a lot, so many things from the great players down there, the experience was great and I learned you’ve got to work hard if you want to be down there.”
Coming off last Saturday’s loss to Winnipeg, the Riders are excited to be able to add a player of Knox’s calibre into a defence, which had been playing pretty well recently.
“We’ve very fortunate to have him back,” said Head Coach Chris Jones. “He and I have kept in contact the entire time. We kept in touch and once he ended up getting released, we started working on getting him here.”
Knox said the loyalty of Jones and the Riders’ coaching staff was a big part of why he quickly decided to return to Saskatchewan after his time with the Bucs ended.
“This coaching staff is a great staff,” he said. “You’ve got to be around them to understand the loyalty and trust that they install in me and other guys on this team.”
With experience in Jones’ defensive system, it shouldn’t take Knox long to get back up to speed and Jones expects him to play this week, whether it be on defence or special teams, or both.
The Riders have a short week as they head to Hamilton on Friday to face the Tiger-Cats.
Kevin Glenn left Saturday’s game in Winnipeg in the third quarter with an injury to his throwing hand, but the injury may not be as serious as initially feared.
Glenn was on the field helping out during practice, however not participating, and Jones said that the veteran pivot is day-to-day.
“We know it’s not broken, so it’s just a matter of what K.G. can handle and we’ll make sure our other guys are ready if not,” said Jones.
Glenn’s status for Friday in Hamilton could come down to game-time.
The Riders also added three international players to their practice roster: defensive lineman T.J. Barnes, defensive back Mohammed Seisay and offensive lineman Terran Vaughn. To make room, the team released defensive lineman Tavares Bingham, defensive back A.J. Jefferson and linebacker Will Ratelle.