Charleston Hughes returns to the Roughriders highly motivated

SASKATOON - - Saskatchewan Roughriders fan favourite Charleston Hughes is back in Saskatchewan after spending last season with the Toronto Argonauts.

“Just knowing that I can go somewhere where I was comfortable, going somewhere where I know they can use my ability to the best possible and I know I can give them my all,” said Hughes on the decision to come back to Saskatchewan.

“They know what they're going to get from me every single play.”

Hughes returns to the Riders highly motivated, recording just two sacks in nine games with Toronto, after back-to-back seasons of leading the league in that category with Saskatchewan (15 in 2018, 16 in 2019).

The 38-year-old says he and the Argonauts weren’t a “perfect match."

“I know it might come off to other people as if I'm starting to decline or my game is starting to fall off, but I'm exactly where I want to be,” he said.

“I didn't fall off. I wasn't up to me, the reason why I had a bad season, so it's one of those things where I come out here, show what I do, show the team what I do best, and let them decide.”

Head coach Craig Dickenson expects Hughes to earn a starting spot on the defensive line, playing 30 to 40 plays a game.

“He's a leader, he's got a lot of street cred, and even though he hasn't played with some of these guys on the [defensive] line, they all know who he is,” said Dickenson.

“Charleston has always been one of the hardest workers on the team and he worked really hard this offseason to get in shape and to get his body where it needed to be, and he I thought he looked good for his first day out.”

Defensive line coach Ben Olson says the addition of Hughes is almost like adding another coach onto the field.

“Charleston's got more experience than any [defensive] lineman in this league,” he said.

“We have a bunch of guys with their second year or rookie year, so Charleston brings all sorts of experience to this group that we can really build off of.”

Hughes enters this season with 132 career sacks, just 25 behind the CFL’s all-time leader Grover Covington, and he feels he can still play at a high level.

“When I was training this offseason and I didn't tell anybody my age, verybody thought I was 28,” he said.

“When I tell them I'm 38 they asked “How in the hell are you still playing football?””

And his signature “surfing” sack dance will also be returning to the green and white.

“I can't wait to whip it up,” he said.