“It feels great,” Fajardo said Monday at a press conference. “Just knowing that they have trust in me, in who I am, and as a player, it just means a lot for me and my family.”
“We’ve been fighting hard for an opportunity.”
The 27-year-old California native has been on the Ottawa Redblacks, B.C. Lions, and Toronto Argonauts rosters, helping the Argos win a Grey Cup in 2017. Despite his successes though, the former free agent feels this move is a breakthrough.
“The last couple of years have been tough, ’cause I’ve been living on a one-year contract, and going into the off-season, you never know where you’re going to end up. Its been hard on my family,” Fajardo said.
“I’m fortunate enough that the Roughriders took a chance on me.”
“It feels good to know that there’s still more football in my life.”
Fajardo has started 15 of the 16 games in the 2019 Roughriders’ regular season, throwing for a total of 3,873 yards with 16 touchdowns. He stepped in for former starting QB Zach Collaros after he was injured in the first game of the season.
“We started talks a couple months ago, and those conversations heated up in the last couple weeks,” said Jeremy O’Day, Roughriders’ vice-president and GM.
“The starting quarterback is very busy and there’s a lot of responsibility, so you’re also going to see how he’s going to handle those situations, how he is in the locker room,” he said.
“All that combined, starting first with the character, his leadership skills, and then, of course, his play level as the season advanced, it became clear, and Craig (Dickenson) and I sat down, quite a while ago, and said we think he’s our guy.”
Fajardo was originally signed as a free agent with the team in February and had his first start on June 20.