Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke is close to realizing his dream of playing in the NFL, but before heading south of the border he made sure to praise the Canadian Football League (CFL).
• Also read: Larks: two new ones in the nest
• Also read: CFL: Jeremiah Masoli remains in Ottawa
At a news conference on Tuesday, the former BC Lions color bear said he never would have had a chance at the Goodell Circuit if it wasn’t for his time in the CFL.
“I learned how to be a pro, run the business and be ready week in and week out,” Rourke said. Sometimes in the NFL, guys get drafted very young and they’re given a lot of responsibility.
“I had the luxury of being here and learning from someone like that [l’ancien quart-arrière] Michael Reilly and [le receveur de passes à la retraite] Bryan Burnham. I could see them doing things. I didn’t play right away and was able to watch a bit. I learned how to deal with you [les médias] and how to find it. These are just lessons that will help me prepare for what may happen in the future.”
The opportunity to play
Last Sunday, Rourke signed a three-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars after showing off his skills to 12 NFL teams over the past few weeks.
The Victoria native played college football in the NCAA after winning at Ohio University. However, he was passed over in the 2021 NFL Draft and chose to join the Lions, the team that selected him with their 15th overall pick at the 2021 CFL auction.
Rourke explained why he chose to jump with the “Jags”.
“It was related to the situation in the quarterback group. Jacksonville was one of the first teams that wanted to see me in action and when I got there I kind of knew they were very interested in getting me.”
“It comes down to an opportunity for me to contend for second quarterback and be a game away. [de jouer]. It was big.”
Last year, in his first season as a regular with the lions, the 24-year-old center was dominant. Despite losing several games due to a foot injury, he still mustered 3,349 yards and 25 touchdowns in 10 games. Rourke also completed 78.7% of his passing attempts, which is a CFL mark.