January 29, 2013

Different uniform, same Geroy Simon in Riderville


CFL.ca Staff

REGINA — For 12 years we have all grown accustomed to seeing Superman in the same uniform.

It always was, and until last week, seemed like it always would be BC Lions Orange and Black.

More Simon Trade Coverage

» Video: Simon Lands in Regina
Video: Nye Breaks Down Simon Trade
» Video: Simon Trade Reaction from Regina
» Video: Simon and Buono React to Trade
» Superman flies to Saskatchewan
» Images: The Best of Simon in BC
» Images: Simon says goodbye
» Bio: Geroy Simon

But while the uniform has changed – thanks to last week’s surprising trade that saw Geroy Simon sent to the Roughriders – the superhero has not.

And Simon will do everything in his power to prove it.

“I’m ready to work,” said Simon while being introduced to the Saskatchewan media on Monday.

“This was a football decision; it wasn’t anything else but football. I’m excited about that, I’m excited to start the process and win. That’s what it’s all about – winning,” he added.

Simon arrives in Saskatchewan ready to get going on what will be his 15th CFL season. His career north of the border began in 1999 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he spent two years getting his feet wet in the Canadian game.

After joining the Lions in 2001, history slowly began to unfold itself in front our very eyes.

Simon went on to become a lethal weapon in the slot, registering nine-straight 1,000-yard seasons en-route to becoming the league’s all-time leading receiver this past season.

But while he has garnered recognition of constantly doing the unthinkable on the field, Simon was ultimately forced to do just that off of it.

“Like I said last week, I never thought that I would leave BC, I never thought that I would be a Saskatchewan Roughrider,” said Simon.

“But that being said, I’m really excited for this opportunity. This is an opportunity to play football in a city where football is king in Canada, and that’s what I want,” he added.

For years, Simon was a thorn in the Riders’ side and was the constant target of jeers by Rider Nation.

Simon acknowledged on Monday that it will be strange to see Riderville in his corner throughout the 2013 season and beyond.

“I’ve been here plenty of times and I’ve been booed by just about everybody here,” said Simon with a laugh.

“It’s funny, because I came here last year for (Don Narcisse’s football camp) and they cheered for me. At the time I said ‘come on that’s not right’, but I guess now it feels right to be cheered by the Riders fans,” he added.

The trade seemingly happened at the blink of an eye. Last Wednesday, reports out of Vancouver surfaced that Lions GM Wally Buono was actively shopping his superstar receiver. The very next day, Simon was a Roughrider.

Leaving the Lions organization was a difficult thing for Simon, but joining his current club was an easy situation.

“When I was given permission to talk to other teams, we didn’t talk to any other teams but one, and that was this team,” admitted Simon.

“I wanted to play for an organization that treats their players right and has an opportunity to win. And I felt that Saskatchewan gave us the biggest opportunity to do that,” he added.