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55 Yard Line

The Roughriders’ signing of J.T. O’Sullivan may be most notable for being noticed by KSK

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

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J.T. O'Sullivan (L) signed with Saskatchewan, but John L. Sullivan's more famous.

Plenty of quarterbacks come through the CFL, but very few actually make an impact. Teams generally have three or four QBs under contract at a time (three on the active roster, another on the practice squad), but it's usually only the top man that plays, or perhaps the backup thanks to injury or ineffectiveness on the part of the starter. Name recognition doesn't always help either, as plenty of former NCAA stars like Chris Leak, Jared Zabransky and Ryan Dinwiddie have flamed out quickly, and even those who do find success in the CFL generally do so after spending a couple of seasons learning the game. Thus, it would be tough to get too excited about the Saskatchewan Roughriders signing 32-year-old NFL journeyman J.T. O'Sullivan, who played (seldomly) with 10 teams during his nine seasons in that league, except for one thing.

O'Sullivan (whose full name is John Thomas O'Sullivan) sort of shares a name with famous 19th-century boxer John L. Sullivan, the first heavyweight champion of gloved boxing. That's led to Mike Tunison of NFL humour site Kissing Suzy Kolber writing some hilarious posts featuring O'Sullivan chronicling his footballing adventures in the language of Sullivan's time, and Tunison's already done one on O'Sullivan joining the CFL. Here's an excerpt from the brilliantly-titled "ROUGHSHOD RIDING IN THE LAND OF GELID WINDS AND STRANGE POLITENESS":

The denizens of Canadia are as agreeable as they are easy to exploit. A man, upon hearing that I was want for a place of residence, offert me his bed. Not as a temporary arrangement, but for everlasting ownership. Stricken with shock, I asked the reason for his kindness. He send it was the neighborly thing to do then askt if he could chop wood for me before he left for a footballing contest.

I thrust to my feet, tossing aside the cushion he had lain beneath me. "Footballing? In Canadia?" I exclaimt.

"Kind of," he replyt.
...

I met with a footballing squadron, one of the curious many with the name of Roughshod Riders. They wisht to know what footballing background I had. I explained my travails: bouncing from team to team as a footballer in America, donnybrooks in the shipyards. A snickersnee fight or two. They were very impresst that I played as an American quartered back. This qualifyt me as the best footballing athlete they had ever met.

Said Internet posting doth contain plenty of relatively-untrue Canadian stereotypes, of course, as our fair country lacks two Roughshod Riders franchises at the present moment (and is unlikely to regain a second one in the foreseeable future, although this is a rather unfortunate state of affairs). Still, the humour quota within may well exceed even that recommended for gentlemen who enjoy a good laugh, and verily, the piece in its entirety is most highly recommended. As per our footballing O'Sullivan himself, this perchance may not be the Bengali Tygers of Cincinnatus or the Equine Lightning Bolts of Spanish Saint Didacus, but it may offer an opportunity most promising for him to keep playing football. If our hero can adapt to the CFL with great haste, perhaps he could even become a backup of competent quality for Darian Durant. The historical trend would seem to weigh against O'Sullivan, though, perhaps most because of his age and his scarcity of experience in footballing of the three-down variety. If said state of affairs comes to pass, the most memorable contribution O' Sullivan may make to the Riders is drawing the attention of the venerable KSK.

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