Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther returns to the sideline after missing his fourth field goal attempt during second half CFL action against the Edmonton Eskimos, in Regina, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.  It's been a very difficult year for a number of kickers this year in the NFL, but CFL veteran Lauther continues to wait for his opportunity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Former Riders kicker Brett Lauther patiently awaiting opportunity to kick in the NFL

Former Riders kicker Brett Lauther patiently awaiting opportunity to kick in the NFL

The 2020 football season continues to be an exercise in patience for Brett Lauther.

For months, the 29-year-old native of Truro, N.S., prepared for an uncertain CFL season during the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, after the ‘20 campaign was nixed, Lauther opted out of his contact with the Saskatchewan Roughriders hoping to secure an NFL opportunity.

Almost two months later, Lauther continues to work out and remains ready for that chance to come.

“I’m a little surprised (to not get an NFL tryout) but that’s not something I can control,” the six-foot-one, 195-pound Lauther said during a telephone interview Tuesday. “I’m just controlling what I can control and will be ready if/when I get the chance to go out there.

“I feel like I can play and do it at the level they (NFL kickers) are at so why would I stop?”

It’s been a difficult year for many NFL kickers, most notably Tennessee’s Stephen Gostkowski. A three-time Super Bowl champion with New England, Gostkowski has made just 10-of-16 attempts (62.5 per cent) with the Titans and is five-of-11 from inside 50 yards this year.

His errant boot from 45 yards out with 19 seconds remaining Sunday preserved Pittsburgh’s 27-24 win over Tennessee. The 36-year-old kicker, who’s slated to earn a US$2-million base salary this year, made a 25-yard field goal to give the Titans a season-opening 16-14 win over Denver after missing three field goals and a convert.

Lauther has made 86-of-101 field goals (85.1 per cent) the last two seasons with Saskatchewan. He began his pro career with Hamilton in 2013 and over his CFL tenure has connected on 92-of-111 field goals (82.9 per cent).

But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. Lauther spent time on the practice roster with Hamilton (2014), Saskatchewan (2015, ‘17), Toronto (2015) and Edmonton (2017) before finally seeing regular-season action in 2018 with the Riders.

That year, he made 54-of-60 field goals (90 per cent) and led the CFL in scoring (198 points) en route to being a West Division all-star.

Being able to survive that CFL whirlwind and still succeed is helping Lauther remain patient.

“I kind of feel like I’m just going down the road with the CFL again,” he said. “The toughest part now is you have to stay ready on your own, you keep working hard in the dark and eventually the light will shine, I guess.

“Without that (CFL experience), it’s kind of something that’s easier to maybe want to give up on or think that it’s a pretty far-fetched dream.”

Lauther isn’t the only CFL kicker looking to play in the NFL. Lirim Hajrullahu, a resident of Oakville, Ont., who spent the last three seasons with Hamilton, remains a free agent after being released during training camp by the Los Angeles Rams.

On Sunday, former CFL kicker Sergio Castillo kicked a field goal and convert in the New York Jets’ 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Castillo, an American who played for the B.C. Lions last year, replaced injured incumbent Sam Ficken (groin) before returning to the practice roster.

Brent Maher, another American who played for Ottawa (2014-15, ‘17) and Hamilton (2016), is on the Houston Texans’ practice roster after spending time this season with the Jets and Washington. Maher spent 2018-19 with the Dallas Cowboys before being released

Former B.C. Lion Ty Long is in his second season as the Los Angeles Chargers punter but also made seven-of-nine field goals last year.

Lauther, meanwhile, definitely misses football.

“Oh, the most,” he said. “That’s another reason why I opted out.

“I knew we weren’t playing this year and if there was a slim chance I could play again, it would make sense to go try and go down there and compete at the highest level.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly thrown a monkey wrench into Lauther’s 2020 football plans. He spent time this off-season working out in Regina with high expectations after Saskatchewan (13-5) finished 2019 atop the West Division.

The Riders were to face the Toronto Argonauts on July 25 at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, where Lauther played collegiately. And Regina was to host the Grey Cup for the first time since 2013 when Saskatchewan defeated Hamilton 45-23.

“If you’re a fan of the league you know how big that (Grey Cup in Regina) is compared to other Grey Cups,” Lauther said. “That’s not a knock on any other team but my first year with Hamilton we made it to the Grey Cup in Saskatchewan and that was an eye-opening moment for me.

“It’s been a horrible year in a number of different ways for the CFL from the passings (Lions owner David Braley and longtime Edmonton Football Team locker-room attendant Joey Moss both died Monday) to not playing to losing probably the biggest Grey Cup that might’ve ever happened in the history of the game. There’s been a lot of negative or bad news this year, for sure.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Football

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Red Deer at 141 active cases

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer area seniors facility pauses visits after staff tests positive for COVID

A Red Deer County seniors facility has put the breaks on visitors… Continue reading

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Alberta confirmed 1,584 COVID-19 cases Sunday afternoon. The total active cases went… Continue reading

Hockey Canada logo at an event in Toronto on November 1, 2017. A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Hockey Canada staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses after responding to a question about the holidays during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau joins G20 in promising COVID-19 aid to poor nations, rejecting protectionism

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death in Canada has raised the ire of the Canadian Psychiatric Association over the proposed law’s explicit rejection of mental illness as grounds for ending a patient’s life. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental illness in assisted dying-bill slammed by psychiatrists

OTTAWA — The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death… Continue reading

The Quebec flag is seen on the podium as Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet responds to a question during a news conference Wednesday June 3, 2020 in Ottawa. Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in Quebec have boiled over in the past week, with politicians seizing on a Liberal MP’s initial brush-off of the issue as evidence of indifference to a crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Angst around French language boils over in Quebec, as politicians warn of ‘decline’

MONTREAL — Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in… Continue reading

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

VICTORIA — The winds were gusting at 110 kilometres per hour and… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has sponsored the VanVleet Court at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Ill. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Fred VanVleet signs four-year, US$85-million deal with Toronto Raptors

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet, one of the most coveted players in free… Continue reading

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
‘Hardship is not a new thing:’ Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise

IQALUIT — It has been just over two weeks since Nunavut declared… Continue reading

Pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials,<br>Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have recently announced they're developed COVID-19 vaccines that are 95 per cent effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Bebeto Matthews
A long way from lab bench to bedside: Virus experts urge COVID-19 vaccine caution

Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials, virologists say… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read