Ed Gainey felt he was due.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back has recorded six interceptions this CFL season — all in the span of the team’s past three games. Those six picks are one more than Gainey had in 60 career games entering the 2017 campaign.
“Over the course of the years of my career in the CFL, I haven’t really been able to play defence like that,” Gainey said after picking off Matt Nichols twice in the Roughriders’ 38-24 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday at Mosaic Stadium. “The first four years, I played special teams mostly and I would come in on certain packages and play a little bit of defence.
“Being in Saskatchewan, Coach (Chris) Jones and Shives (defensive backs coach Jason Shivers) and everybody, they really believe in me and they have my back. I’ve been able to focus that much more on my craft and focus that much more on my role as a defensive player.”
Gainey began his CFL career with the Montreal Alouettes in 2012 and spent two seasons there. He played two seasons (2014-15) with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before signing with Saskatchewan prior to the 2016 season.
He had two interceptions for the Tiger-Cats in 2014 and three with the Roughriders last season. On Aug. 13, Gainey had a franchise-record four picks against the B.C. Lions before snaring two more on Sunday.
His first-quarter interception led to a one-yard touchdown run by Vernon Adams Jr., that gave Saskatchewan a 17-3 lead. Gainey made his second pick in the Roughriders’ end zone with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter to snuff out a Winnipeg drive.
His spree of thefts started after Jones talked to Gainey about picking up his play.
“It probably had a lot less to do with me and more about him as the player recognizing the fact that, ‘Y’know what? He’s probably right,’ ’’ Jones said. “(It was about) going back to look at the film, putting the work in and trusting his ability to go make football plays.”
In Gainey’s mind, he’s just repaying the trust Jones showed in him.
“Before I came here my first year, I felt like there weren’t going to be too many teams that wanted to have me on their team,” said Gainey, who noted he felt like he had “a short leash” when he played with other teams. “Coach Jones showed that he wanted me here and I just took that and ran with it.
“I heard that he was a good coach, I saw that he had won championships and he’s a winning coach, so I just wanted to come over here and play for him. I’m really just trying to make Coach Jones, Shives and all these guys happy about bringing me here.”
**Ed Gainey had two interceptions this past weekend while wearing the Phenom Pro Solids.
Original Article by: IAN HAMILTON