Christian Albright was one of the few bright spots for the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night.
In a 36-28 loss to the host Ottawa Redblacks, the Riders defensive lineman had two tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in his CFL debut.
“It was great to get back out there finally and help contribute to the team,” Albright said after practice at Mosaic Stadium this week. “We didn’t get the end result we wanted to get, so we’re going to work on that, but it was good to be back out there and get back into the groove a little bit.”
In the second quarter, Albright picked up the two sacks on back-to-back plays, dropping Redblacks’ quarterback Dustin Crum for losses of seven and six yards.
“It’s a great feeling when you’re out there making plays,” said Albright. “Just the feeling of the work finally paying off and film study throughout the week paying off and seeing how you’re going to attack the man across from you.
“It’s just a great feeling just to see the work pay off and know that you made a play to help the team out.”
After injuries along the defensive line to Anthony Lanier II and Miles Brown, the 24-year-old Albright, who signed with the Riders in February after a college career at Ball State University, was making his CFL debut after spending the first 15 weeks of the season on the practice roster.
“It can get rough but that’s the part of being a pro, you’ve got to wait,” said Albright. “You’ve got to continue to stay ready so when the opportunity does come, you’re ready to seize the opportunity.”
Prior to signing with the Riders, Albright attended training camp in 2022 with the NFL’s Chicago Bears but then was released. When Saskatchewan reached out with a contract, he decided the CFL would be his next stop.
“The interest (the Riders) showed me was more than what I had down south, so it was a no-brainer at the moment to keep on chasing the dream and get the chance to play professional ball,” said Albright.
And after his impressive performance in his debut, it’s going to be hard to keep the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Georgia product out of the lineup.
“I think he might have played his way onto the roster,” said Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson. “We’ll see when we get everybody back but certainly those are the nice parts of late in the season when you get a chance to put a guy out there that has maybe been PR the whole year and he shows well.
“I was real proud of him. He does it in practice every day, so I wasn’t surprised.”
As the Riders (6-8) look to snap a three-game losing skid against the host B.C. Lions (10-4) on Friday night (8:30 p.m., TSN), Albright will do his part in helping the Green and White get out of the current slump that they are in.
“Really just got to figure out what we can do to get a win,” said Albright. “Whether that’s helping them going out and getting two sacks again or just going out and doing my job, the stats might not be as much, just want to go out and help get a win.”
Running back Jamal Morrow (knee) returned to practice on Tuesday and is on track to play this week after a one-game absence.
Defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II (hip) also logged a full practice after missing Day 1 on Monday. Offensive lineman Philip Blake (calf) also returned to practice, while centre Peter Godber (knee) missed a second straight day. Evan Johnson got the majority of reps at centre.
Defensive back Trumaine Washington (finger) missed a second straight day as well, while defensive lineman Michah Johnson (illness) and defensive back Amari Henderson (quadriceps) did not participate either after both practising on Day 1.