REGINA – Rob Bagg has put in the hard work and now both he and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are waiting for it to pay off.
Once a celebrated member of the Riders receiving corps, Bagg has made only nine catches since the end of the 2010 season, missing the majority of last season and all of 2011 with two separate knee injuries.
Despite all of that, the Riders have put their faith in the Queen’s grad who signed a contract extension last week to remain in Regina.
His injury history does cause some distress among the Riders brass but General Manager Brendan Taman told reporters last week that given Bagg’s work ethic, he has little doubt that he can return to form.
“Any time a guy does it twice you have some concern,” Taman said of Bagg’s two major knee injuries. “But I think that Rob being the individual that he is, it is less of a concern because he is such a hard worker. Hopefully he can come back and the bad luck is gone.”
Taman fully expects Bagg to be healthy by the time training camp roles around in June but when asked if this could be the Kingston, ON native’s final chance to not only get back to form but remain in the lineup, the Riders GM was straightforward.
“I think realistically this is his last chance,” said Taman. “Whenever you do that twice, let alone three times (were it to happen again) it would be taking a pretty big risk. We don’t foresee that happening. He is such a hard working guy… I think he is going to be okay.”
Prior to the 2011 season, Bagg was an integral part of a group of pass-catcher appropriately named the Canadian Air Force. While playing alongside now-Ticat Andy Fantuz and Chris Getzlaf, Bagg recorded 125 receptions for 1,866 yards and 8 touchdowns.
As much as his production was missed it may have been his attitude and aforementioned work ethic that truly left a void.
“His energy and his passion for the game is just at another level,” Taman continued. “He is sort of a leader amongst that receiving corps in his own right and I think he has a pretty good bond with the quarterbacks and other receivers out there so we have noticed that. He is a pretty important piece to our puzzle.”