April 11, 2024

“I just feel like something special is coming” — Shea Patterson

A true gem can be found on the diamonds of San Antonio, Texas.

The perpetually pleasant Shea Patterson is coaching two Little League teams in San Antonio, Texas in addition to preparing for his second season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Patterson-coached squads include his eight-year-old nephew (Walker) and seven-year-old niece (Carson).

“They’re at that age when Little League baseball is starting to happen,” Patterson, a 27-year-old quarterback, said on Thursday. “My sister, Abby, asked me to coach this off-season and I said, ‘Why not?’ It has been an awesome experience so far.

“I started playing baseball when I was four and I still kind of play a little bit. I still remember the impact that coaches had on me when I was that age.

“It’s cool to be in the other position.”

Walker and Carson have the benefit of being coached by someone who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 38th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft.

As recently as last year, the Rangers’ Chris Young touched base with Patterson.

“I talked to the general manager last summer and he said, ‘If you’re ever done with football, just give me a call and we’ll get you going,’ ” he said. “I said, ‘I can’t do it. Football is my love and I plan on playing that for the next 10 years.’ ”

A few months after that conversation, the Rangers won the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

“It’s awesome,” Patterson said. “It was a long time coming for them. I knew they had the right guys in the organization, especially at the top.

“They put the right team together and they got it done. I was so happy for them.”

Even though it was a magical year for the Rangers, he wasn’t tempted to give baseball another shot.

“Never once,” Patterson replied. “I want to play football.”

What is it about the gridiron game?

“It’s just the feeling that I get when I’m on the field,” he said. “It’s just the passion that I have for the game and the love that I have for it.

“Baseball sort of gave me the same feeling when I was younger. Around the age of eight or nine, I really started to play quarterback. Nothing ever gave me a feeling quite as strong as being on the football field and expressing myself that way.

“For 20-plus years now, I’ve felt the same way about football.”

Patterson’s time in NCAA football was highlighted by two seasons (2018 and 2019) as the University of Michigan Wolverines’ starting quarterback.

As a senior, he became the first Wolverine to throw four or more touchdown passes in back-to-back games. Most notably, he threw for 366 yards and five scores in a 39-14 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers on Nov. 23, 2019.

One week later against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Patterson moved ahead of Tom Brady on the Wolverines’ all-time passing-yardage list.

Post-Michigan, Patterson spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (in 2020), B.C. Lions (2021) and Montreal Alouettes (2021) prior to joining the Michigan Panthers and New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League in 2022.

He signed with the Roughriders on Feb. 13, 2023 and dressed for 13 games last season.

Employed primarily as the short-yardage quarterback, he scored two touchdowns — reaching the end zone for the first time in the CFL — to help the Roughriders defeat the host Calgary Stampeders 29-26 in overtime on June 24.

With this year’s Coors Light Roughriders Training Camp looming, Patterson is part of a quarterbacking equation that also includes starter Trevor Harris, fellow returnees Mason Fine and Antonio Pipkin, and newcomer Jack Coan.

Also new to the Roughriders’ organization are Head Coach Corey Mace and the team’s first-year Offensive Co-ordinator, Marc Mueller.

Mueller was among the first key hires after Mace was introduced by Vice-President of Football Operations/General Manager Jeremy O’Day on Nov. 30.

“I trust that J.O.’s going to make the right decision,” Patterson said. “He’s someone who I have been talking to since before the USFL season in 2022. I felt that attraction toward him and what he’s doing.

“He took a big step this off-season and hired a great guy in Corey Mace and then he hired Marc Mueller. I’m really excited to work with both of them.”

The excitement extends to the opportunity that awaits at training camp and beyond.

“I really feel that I haven’t been in a better situation since coming out of college,” Patterson said. “I really have faith in this staff and I really have faith in Kyle (Carson, Assistant GM) and J.O. The whole atmosphere in Saskatchewan is amazing.

“Setting foot in that stadium, I just feel like something special is coming. I couldn’t be more excited to get out there with the new team and the new staff and get this season rolling for the fans.”