CFL: Roughriders Sign Former 49ers NFL Starter J.T. O’Sullivan

Al Dannity | Updated Apr 20, 2012

The build-up to the 2012 CFL season just got a little bit more interesting with the arrival of J.T. O’Sullivan in Regina. Al Dannity examines the wisdom behind the Roughriders latest signing and whether he can raise Saskatchewan to a higher level.

No stranger to strange lands J.T. O’Sullivan has been around. With 11 NFL teams on his resume, O’Sullivan knows plenty about having to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances. That will be important as he looks to challenge Darian Durant for the starter’s job with the Roughriders. Make no mistake, even though O’Sullivan’s been signed as a back-up, he didn’t head north to hold a board. The first ever O’Sullivan to play in the NFL did a lot of waiting before getting his first crack at NFL action. With 8 starts for the San Francisco 49ers in 2008, O’Sullivan showed he could hang around for a while at the top level. While far from impressive, a total of 8 touchdowns and 11 interceptions won’t scare many, O’Sullivan did enough to prove he merited lasting in the toughest pro league of them all.

Now, aged 32 and with plenty of fire still in his arm, O’Sullivan has a chance to go for glory in new surroundings. Since being drafted out of UC Davis in 2002, this is a quarterback who has had to fight for everything he’s got out of the game. That’s the kind of attitude the Roughriders need under center. After a miserable year that saw their team finish bottom in the West, Saskatchewan fans need a fighter in their locker room. O’Sullivan brings that and more. He has the veteran savvy to get the most out of the other contributors on the roster, raising the mental game of all the players around him.

Just one thing Much as the Roughriders should be pleased with their improvements on the depth chart at quarterback, the small matter of ‘who covers the blindside?’ remains a huge issue. Left tackle is a premier position is a pass-heavy league like the CFL and the Roughriders don’t have a good situation in that spot right now.

The release of Clint Oldenburg leaves a gaping hole at LT as he looked the likely replacement for Alex Gauthier. After a 5-13 season, Rider nation expects more. Don’t be surprised to see significant moves made ahead of next week’s mini-camps. That will probably see significant shuffling to the existing roster in order to allow room for more imports.

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