It was a risk that paid off for Regina's own Jeremy Zver, in more ways than one.
The offensive lineman was drafted 16th overall by the B.C. Lions in the 2017 CFL Draft in May, but on Tuesday he was announced as the newest Saskatchewan Roughrider.
Zver went to training camp in B.C., and was offered a spot on the team's practice roster. Zver decided to decline the offer.
“I talked to my agent and he said the best opportunity would probably be to decline the practice roster spot and then see what other options were out there,” Zver said of his decision.
“B.C.'s got a great o-line,” he continued. “They got eight guys over there that are all fighting for a starting spot ... they only travel seven guys. It was going to be a tough lineup to crack.”
Declining B.C.'s practice roster offer made Zver a free agent and eligible to sign with any team who wanted him. As luck would have it, the team located in his home province were very interested.
“We had him ranked slightly behind (11th overall pick Dariusz) Bladek and we took Bladek with a little earlier pick, but we had him ranked very highly on our board, we're fortunate to have him.”
But it's Zver who feels most fortunate.
Zver was born and raised in Regina, attended Balfour Collegiate and attended the University of Regina, originally as a basketball player.
At the encouragement of former Rams coach Frank McCrystal, he gave football a try and never looked back. He was instrumental in Noah Picton's record-breaking season at quarterback, protecting his blind side for all eight regular season games and the playoffs. He was also named a Canada-West all-star in all three of his seasons on the Rams.
“I am happy to be home,” he smiled, before adding he's glad he doesn't have to find a spot in the booming Vancouver real estate market.
“I can live at home and sleep in my own bed.”
And even more exciting for Zver is the group of veterans he gets to learn under as he develops his pro game.
“That's very exciting. Working outwith Dan Clark and getting to know him in the winter, that was a great opportunity, especially leading up to the combine, so I'm really excited,” he said.
“It's always a gamble to decline a spot on a team. I think it's a gamble that will pay off hopefully in the future.”
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