With a long history of hosting NFL, CFL, amateur and collegiate football teams, the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, formerly known as Historic Dodgertown, welcomes back two Canadian Football League teams for free agent camps this month.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders is in the middle of their free agent camp April 6-8. Head coach Craig Dickerson, named to his current post in January, is in his fourth season of his second go-round with the Roughriders, spending the last three seasons as the special-teams coordinator. He also previously worked with the Riders special teams during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. This is his 17th season in the CFL, and he is a two-time Grey Cup champion, having won CFL titles with the Eskimos in 2015 and with the Calgary Stampeders in 2008. Dickerson’s NFL experience includes seasons with the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers.
The Edmonton Eskimos will hold their free agent rookie camp April 13-15. Head coach Jason Maas is a former CFL quarterback, having played with the Eskimos as well as the Montreal Alouettes and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. His coaching career includes positions with the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Redblacks and the Eskimos. He was named Eskimos head coach in December, 2015.
Since the 1970s, the National Football League, the Canadian Football League and collegiate football programs have utilized the outdoor and indoor training facilities, meeting space, hotel villas and dining room to prepare for the regular season or playoff games. In 1974 and again from 1976-84, the New Orleans Saints – led by quarterback Archie Manning – held their preseason camps here. In the years following, the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders, and collegiate programs from the University of Miami, Ohio State University, the University of South Florida and in 2017 the North Greenville University football program all utilized this complex. In 2018, Your Call Football held their inaugural season here.
Not commonly known, Field 1, one of the original fields played on by the Dodgers when the complex opened in 1948, has permanent goal post anchors under the outfield, installed in the 1970s for the New Orleans Saints preseason camps.
Field 4, a 100 x 130 yard multi-purpose field renovated to its current specifications in 2014, will be lined and painted for the Roughriders and Eskimos, in accordance with CFL specifications. The teams will also utilize the Jackie Robinson Training Complex’s major league designed fitness and training rooms, locker room, hotel villa rooms, and conference rooms for team meetings and break-out sessions.