The Saskatchewan Roughriders are moving forward for the time being without starting quarterback Zach Collaros.
Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said Sunday that Collaros has been placed on the six-game injured list after suffering an apparent concussion due to an illegal hit in Thursday’s 23-17 loss to the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
“(Collaros) is fine and we’ve talked to him and all of that good stuff,” said Dickenson, who didn’t specify whether Collaros had a concussion.
“We’re just going to err on the side of caution and we’re going to give him six weeks. Whether we go the full six weeks or not, I can’t say. It’s a decision we made after talking with him and talking with the doctors. We’ll let his status sort itself out in the next few weeks.”
Collaros was knocked out of the Riders’ loss on the third offensive play of the CFL’s regular-season opener. The 30-year-old quarterback took a hit to the head by Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who was teammates with Collaros through four seasons with the Tiger-Cats.
Collaros was sliding feet-first at the end of a seven-yard run when Lawrence slammed his left shoulder into the head of the defenceless quarterback. Collaros didn’t pass the CFL’s concussion protocol and was kept out of the remainder of the game.
Lawrence was assessed a 25-yard Grade 2 roughing-the-passer penalty, but remained in the game. He added salt to the Riders’ wounds with an interception late in the fourth quarter.
Lawrence may face further discipline for the hit. A hearing was reportedly conducted Saturday and the league is expected to reveal the outcome early in the week. Lawrence could face a suspension and/or a fine.
The Riders addressed Collaros’ absence by signing Bryan Bennett, who was with Green and White at its main training camp in 2017 before being released. He spent the 2018 season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but was released after the team’s 2019 pre-season.
The Roughriders are to return to action Thursday in Ottawa. On Sunday, Dickenson wouldn’t commit to Cody Fajardo or rookie Isaac Harker as the starting quarterback for that game. Fajardo and Harker both saw action in Thursday’s game.
“We’re going to let Cody and Isaac split reps this week and we’re going to decide later in the week who will be our starter,” Dickenson said.