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Tuesday, at a press conference, the former color holder of the BC Lions said he would never have had an opportunity in the Goodell circuit without his time in the CFL.
“I learned how to be a professional, how to run the business and be ready week in and week out,” Rourke said. Sometimes in the NFL, there are guys drafted very young and a lot of responsibility is given to them.
“I had the luxury of being here and learning from someone like [l’ancien quart-arrière] Michael Reilly and [le receveur de passes à la retraite] Bryan Burnham. I could see how they do things. I didn’t play right away and was able to watch a bit. I learned to deal with you [les médias] and how to find it. These are just lessons that will help me prepare for what might happen in the future.”
The opportunity to play
Last Sunday, Rourke signed a three-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars after showing his skills to 12 NFL teams in recent weeks.
The Victoria native had played his college football in the NCAA, having found success with Ohio University. He was passed over in the 2021 NFL Draft, however, and decided to join the Lions, the team that selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 CFL auction.
Rourke explained why he chose to make the jump with the “Jags.”
“It was related to the situation in the quarterback group. Jacksonville was one of the first teams to want to see me in action and when I got there I kind of knew they were very interested in getting me.”
“It comes down to an opportunity for me to fight to be the second quarterback and be one game away. [de jouer]. It was huge.”
Last year, in his first season as a starter with the Lions, the 24-year-old center was dominant. Deprived of several games due to a foot injury, he still amassed 3,349 yards and 25 touchdowns in 10 games. Rourke also completed 78.7% of his pass attempts, which is a CFL mark.