CALGARY — Omarr Morgan is finally going to play in the Grey Cup after 10 years in the CFL and nine of them with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The ’Riders won the CFL’s championship two years ago, but that happened to be the one season the defensive back did not wear the green and white.
Morgan instead wore the green and gold for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2007. He watched his former teammates beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19 in the title game in Toronto.
Morgan will get his chance at Lord Grey’s trophy Sunday against the Montreal Alouettes at McMahon Stadium (TSN, 4:30 p.m.).
“It’s taken me 10 seasons,” Morgan said after Wednesday’s practice session at McMahon.
“That’s longer than most guys have played in this league, longer than two guys have played in the league. It’s taken me a long time, but it’s great to be here finally.”
Half of Saskatchewan’s current roster own Grey Cup rings from two years ago. Morgan, who turns 33 on Dec. 4, wants his.
“I want it real bad,” he declared.
“A lot of guys in the league have rings now. I’m one of the less fortunate ones who don’t have one, so my chance is coming Sunday and I have 60 minutes to try and go out there and get it.”
The five-foot-nine, 175-pound cornerback from Hollywood, Calif., says it was “strictly business,” meaning a lucrative contract, which prompted him to join Edmonton in 2007. The Eskimos didn’t make the playoffs that year.
“The only regret I have is we didn’t win it in Edmonton,” Morgan said.
“I take my hat off to the guys who were here in 2007 and won Grey Cup rings. This is ’09. There’s a lot of guys what weren’t here in ’07. All we’re concerned about is Sunday and the Montreal Alouettes.”
Not only are the Roughriders, who went 10-7-1 in the regular season, embracing their underdog status against the mighty 15-3 Alouettes, they are also using Morgan, who wears No. 1 on his jersey, as a player to rally around.
“It was tough for Omarr,” defensive back Lance Frazier said. “He left and came back.
“We’re enthusiastic as it is for this game just because of the magnitude but of course, we’re out here playing for a couple of guys who don’t have rings who have been playing for a very long time.”
At the other end of the scale is kicker Louie Sakoda, who has been with the team less than 10 weeks.
The 23-year-old from San Jose, Calif., was signed in October as a substitute for injured Jamie Boreham.
Sakoda thought his playing career was over when the ’Riders called. He was on the coaching staff of his alma mater, the University of Utah, and was in the middle of classes towards a business degree.
He admitted to mixed feelings after Saskatchewan’s 27-17 win over Calgary in Sunday’s West final.
“I had trouble, wondering if I should be enjoying this to the fullest because these guys have been pouring sweat and blood since, you know, June,” Sakoda said. “I come in in October and enjoy the same benefits.
“A lot of these guys have been around forever. Even though I’ve only been here six weeks, you develop huge respect for these players and become friends with them. I couldn’t be happier for guys like Omarr.”
The welcome Sakoda received from the longer-serving Roughriders helped him settle into his role.
“I’m here. I’m helping out,” he said. “This has been a great experience. This week is going to be a blast and I’m looking forward to it.”
He admitted to knowing nothing about the Grey Cup prior to his arrival in Regina.
“Now that I’m fully educated I realize how special the experience is,” Sakoda said. “Now I need to buy a digital camera so I can document everything.”