Weyburn Mayor Debra Button added her voice to those who are welcoming free-agent offensive lineman Brendon Labatte back home to Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Roughriders recently announced that they have signed the Weyburn product, who has been a Winnipeg Blue Bomber since he was selected in the 2008 draft after his outstanding University of Regina football career.
The Riders held a news conference on February 16 to announce the signing of the six-foot-four, 300-pound Labatte but the details of the contract were not made public.
"Brendon has proven that he is one of the best players in the CFL," said Mayor Button. "Those of us in Weyburn who had the opportunity to watch him grow up here and play for the Weyburn Eagles couldn't be prouder of him and his performance."
Labatte spent the last four seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after being drafted by the team in the first round in the 2008 CFL Canadian Draft. He immediately earned a starting spot on the offensive line and was named the team's nominee for Rookie of the Year in 2008. In 2009, he earned his first all-star nod after being named to the East Division All-Star team and was the team's nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman after starting every game at left guard. For the second consecutive year, Labatte earned the team nomination for Most Outstanding Lineman and an East Division All-Star nod in 2010. Last season, the 25-year-old started in all 18 regular season games, the East Division Final and Grey Cup game. His dominating play earned him his third consecutive East Division All-Star nomination and his first CFL All-Star recognition.
"Not only has Brendon proven that he is a gifted athlete, but he has made the city of Weyburn proud by demonstrating that he is an outstanding representative of our community," said Button. "Weyburn has always been a supporter of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but I can imagine there will be a larger contingent of Weyburn folks who will travel to games now to watch one of their own. I look forward to the Labatte cheering section."