Roughriders hold private memorial for Joe McKnight

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December 12, 2016 - 3:06pm
The Sask. Roughriders held a private memorial service for Joe McKnight on Dec. 12, 2016.
Arielle Zerr/ 980 CJME
The Sask. Roughriders held a private memorial service for Joe McKnight on Dec. 12, 2016.

While Joe McKnight’s funeral was being held in Louisiana, a small private ceremony was also happening in Regina.

Roughrider players, coaches and staff gathered in the Green and White Lounge Monday morning to remember McKnight.

A picture of the running back along with his jersey, locker nameplate and helmet hung at the front of the room. Team Chaplin Jared LaCoste spoke for about 15 minutes, sharing his memories of McKnight and words of comfort to those who attended.

McKnight hadn’t actually been with the team all that long, but according to everyone who knew him, he made a big impact on those around him.

LaCoste said people flocked to him – that he was thoughtful and well respected.

Teammate Spencer Moore was drawn to McKnight because he was someone who was easy to be around.

“I wanted to get to know him just because of how talented a player he was,” Moore said after the service. “I got to know him outside of football and kind of realized how good of a guy he was off the field as well.”

“He was as good off the field – if not better – than he was on the field,” Moore continued. “That’s saying something, because we saw what he could do on the field,” Moore said.

McKnight played just three games in the green and white before he returned home to Louisiana for the off-season, but he made his mark in his debut.

McKnight rushed for 150 yards with an average of 8.8 yards per carry. Even when everyone around him was singing his praises, he remained humble.

“I haven’t showed anything yet,” McKnight said at the time. “If I do it the next two weeks then I’ve shown some people something.”

It was that dedication to his craft and his never quit attitude that made him such a draw for his teammates.

“It was always pleasure to talk to him a little about, even about nothing at all. He was just a quality guy,” Moore said, adding one of his last memories of McKnight is one of the ones that stayed with him.

“He was kind of joking about how he wanted to stay up here and he really liked it here in Regina especially and that’s obviously one that stuck out the most for me,” Moore said.

McKnight had been back in Louisiana just a few weeks before he was shot dead in an alleged road rage incident by Ronald Gasser.

Gasser has been charged with manslaughter and is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Head Coach Chris Jones attended McKnight’s funeral this morning along with Assistant General Manager John Murphy.

Murphy also spoke at McKnight’s service, the Riders said.