SPORTS

Veteran quarterback Kerry Joseph returns to Saskatchewan Roughriders

10/09/2014 01:44 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST
REGINA - The Saskatchewan Roughriders have reached into the past to answer their questions at quarterback by coaxing Kerry Joseph out of retirement.

But at 41 years old, it remains to be seen whether the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 2007 has anything left to help the team's struggling offence.

Joseph ended his brief retirement and signed with the Riders on Thursday and immediately joined the team at practice.

"It's a good feeling," he said following his first workout with the Riders. "It's has been a while. For years I have been on the other side, so to get back into that locker-room just gives you that burst of energy to know that there's some great things going on here."

Joseph received the phone call on Oct. 4, his birthday, from Riders head coach Corey Chamblin.

He didn't jump at the opportunity right away.

"It wasn't an easy decision," Joseph said, adding that he wrestled with it for a couple of days before he chose to re-join his former team.

"It just felt right. I think if it wasn't here I wouldn't have done it, to be honest with you. I think coming back here in the green and white and knowing what they have established and the opportunities that lay ahead, that's why (I came back)."

Joseph joins a crowd at quarterback that includes Tino Sunseri, Seth Doege and Keith Price. Sunseri has started in place of the injured Darian Durant in three of the Riders' past four games, with Doege starting the most recent contest.

The Riders have won just once during that span and take their 9-5 record to Montreal for a showdown on Monday with the Alouettes (5-8).

Joseph is expected to dress for that game but it's unlikely he'll see any snaps under centre, despite "feeling good" after his first full practice.

"They have some good guys in place and I'm just getting familiar with Coach (George) Cortez (offensive co-ordinator) and the way he does things on offence," Joseph said. "I'm pretty familiar with the offence and I don't want to look too far and just take things one day at a time. I want to get better and get back into the groove of things."

Joseph was keeping himself busy during retirement — his last game action was in early November last season with the Edmonton Eskimos. Joseph was working out quarterbacks and receivers at the high school and college level in Louisiana. He also served as a guest coach during training camp with the NFL's New Orleans Saints, so he was doing some running and throwing.

"My body feels good… but I'm not in that football shape," he admitted.

Chamblin liked what he saw from Joseph on Thursday.

"He can still throw the ball. He's still Kerry Joseph," the coach said. "Looking at the film always tells a little bit more about his timing and things like that. It was his first and he able to knock some rust off."

This is Joseph's second stint with the Riders. He was acquired by the team in April 2006 when he was selected first overall in the Ottawa Renegades' dispersal draft.

Joseph spent two seasons with the Riders and quickly endeared himself to the team's fan base when he led Saskatchewan to a 23-19 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2007 Grey Cup game. He also was named the league's most outstanding player that season.

Joseph then played with the Toronto Argonauts and the Eskimos before he retired in January after an 11-year career that saw his accumulate 27,491 passing yards and 144 touchdowns. He also rushed for more than 4,500 yards.

Joseph's best season in the CFL was arguably the 2005 campaign while with the Renegades. That year he set career highs in passing yards (4,466), touchdowns (25) and rushing yards (1,006).

The Riders still hold out hope that Durant will return to the field during the 2014 season. He underwent surgery in early September to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow and is eligible to come off the six-game injured list on Oct. 24. General manager Brendan Taman has his fingers crossed that Durant could play in the team's regular-season finale on Nov. 8.

"I think if everything goes well, there's a chance for that, for sure, but injuries are tough to predict sometimes," Taman told the media earlier in the week. "You just never know what can happen.

"But I'm still fairly optimistic and still planning that he will be ready for that game."

Taman said Durant is expected to start throwing again within the next three weeks.

Since 2012, the Riders are 26-16 in games started by Durant and 2-6 without him in the lineup.

MORE:cpSports