- Free Agency
REGINA — Future Hall of Famer Geroy Simon is heading to Saskatchewan.
Thursday, the Lions announced that they have traded the CFL’s all-time leading receiver to the Roughriders in exchange for import receiver Justin Harper and a 3rd Round pick in the 2014 Canadian College Draft.
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The deal comes just a day after Lions GM Wally Buono confirmed to a Vancouver radio station that he was actively shopping Simon because the two sides were unable to agree on a restructured contract.
“After many weeks of discussion with Geroy, we have reached a point where we believe it’s in the best interest of both parties to move forward with a mutually agreed upon trade,” said vice president of football operations and GM Wally Buono.
“Geroy’s accomplishments as a player are well documented and his work in our community has been outstanding. We salute and thank Geroy and wish him the very best.”
“It was a long process so I was relieved more than anything given it had gone on so long. (Overall) we are happy to see how he is going to fit into everything that we do,” said Roughriders GM Brendan Taman.
The 37-year-old slotback has spent 12 of his 14 CFL seasons with B.C. and last year surpassed Milt Stegall as the league leader in all-time receiving yards.
But hamstring injuries forced Simon to miss five games, limiting him to 54 catches for 700 yards and two TDs in 2012.
It marked the first time in 10 seasons that Simon had not cracked the 1,000-yard receiving plateau.
“My 12 seasons with the BC Lions have been the most incredible years of my professional life”, Simon remarked.
“I want to thank the entire BC Lions organization for giving me the opportunity to become a true professional. Most notably, I am extremely grateful to Mr. Braley, Wally Buono, Dennis Skulsky, Mike Benevides, as well as my teammates and coaches for all their years of support. The fans in BC have treated me as one of their own since I arrived here in 2001, and I’ll never forget it. I’m looking forward to a new and exciting opportunity in Saskatchewan.”
Roughriders Head Coach Corey Chamblin explained that as a coach, he’s excited to see what Simon can bring to the Roughriders’ locker room and on-field presence.
“We’re excited to have him, but at the same time we still have to figure out how we’re going to fit him in,” said Chamblin at a press conference in Regina shortly after the deal was announced.
“I think he gives us an added weapon and I think he gives us a chance to move to a higher level,” he added.
Chamblin was also adamant about the fact that he doesn’t care how many years Simon has left in him and that he’s focusing on what he can bring to the table on a day-to-day basis.
“All I care about is this year,” admitted Chamblin. “What I mean by that is that we’re not looking at 7, 8, 9 or 10 years from now…we have to win today.”
Taman, however, had a more detailed explanation of his expectations for Simon’s services.
“If you ask Geroy he will probably say five but realistically, we are expecting two at least,” he said.