Saskatchewan Roughriders sign quarterback Drew Tate

Saskatchewan Roughriders sign quarterback Drew Tate
Tate comes out of retirement, signs with Sask.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the signing of retired quarterback Drew Tate on Saturday, raising questions about the health of Zach Collaros.

SIGNED: •International quarterback, Drew Tate ADDED TO PRACTICE ROSTER: •National kicker, Quinn van Gylswyk pic.twitter.com/tfviUQfo7U

Tate would be eligible to play in the post-season and his signing is sure to raise questions about the health of the current Rider quarterbacks. Starter Zach Collaros left the team’s last game against the B.C. Lions after taking a headshot from defensive end Odell Willis. Back up Brandon Bridge took over and gave way to third-stringer David Watford late in the fourth quarter.

Veteran quarterback Drew Tate signs with Riders

Tate, 34, announced his retirement after nine CFL seasons with the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks this past June.

Tate spent two years on the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster before signing with the Stampeders in 2009 and playing eight seasons in Calgary. He won two Grey Cup championships on his career with 410 completions on 615 attempts (66 per cent completion rate) for 5,008 yards, 35 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while adding 162 carries for 629 yards and 24 touchdowns.

A native of Baytown, TX, Tate has thrown 410 completions for 5,008 yards and 35 touchdowns for his career in 48 games. He has also rushed for 24 touchdowns.

Collaros, 30, left last weekends 35-16 win over the B.C. Lions early after taking a hit to the head from Odell Willis. Willis was fined an undisclosed amount by the league for the play which they deemed a “high hit.” It marked the third time this season that Collaros has left a game early after taking a hard hit to the head.

Riders coach Chris Jones said after the game that Collaross early exit was simply a precautionary measure.

The Riders are awaiting the results of Saturday's night's contest between the Lions and Stampeders to see whether they will host the West Division final in two weeks.

“He should be fine, but we pulled him just to be safe.” Jones said. “[Collaros] took a good shot, a head-gear-to-head-gear shot; for precautionary reasons our trainers thought it was best to take him out of the football game, thats about all I know at this point.”

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The Roughriders are inactive during the seasons final weekend with a bye. They finish the season at 12-6 and will learn their playoff fate following the Stampeders game with the Lions on Saturday night. A Stamps win or tie means the Riders will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West semi-final next weekend, but a Lions victory ensures a division title for the Roughriders and a bye into the Western final.

Tate's signing comes as questions swirl about Riders' starting quarterback Zach Collaros's availability for the playoffs.

Quarterback Drew Tate is coming out of retirement to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders during their playoff run.

Quarterback Drew Tate is coming out of retirement to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders during their playoff run.

The Riders announced Saturday they signed Tate, who previously played nine seasons in the CFL — eight with the Calgary Stampeders before he joined the Ottawa Redblacks in 2017. After he was released by the Redblacks, Tate announced he was retiring to take an NCAA coaching job with Coastal Carolina.

Riders starting quarterback Zach Collaros has left a game three times this season after absorbing a hit to the head, including the Riders last game on Oct. 27 — a 35-16 victory over B.C. that clinched a home playoff game. According to a CFL source, Collaros is apparently fine and should be ready when the Roughriders resume practising.

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Drew Tate throws a pass during first half CFL football action against the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal, Sunday, September 17, 2017. Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Riders will be watching Saturday’s game between the Stampeders and B.C. Lions. If B.C. wins, Saskatchewan will finish first in the West Division for the first time since 2009. Otherwise, Calgary will place first, one spot above Saskatchewan.

Tate, 34, began his CFL career with the Roughriders in 2007. He was with the Green and White for two seasons, but never played a down. He signed with Calgary as a free agent in 2009.