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Quick Slants: Austin, Riders Number Shuffle, and TRich’s Contract

Published: Thursday, Apr 19th 2018, 5:04am

by Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)

Quick Slants looks at some of the weekly stories in the CFL and beyond.

“What would you say you do here Kent?”

At the end of the 2015 season when the Saskatchewan Roughriders cleaned house firing both General Manager Brendon Taman and Head Coach Corey Chamblin, there was a yearning by some in Rider Nation that wanted the Riders to lure VP/GM/Head Coach Kent Austin away from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Who could blame them?

Austin’s contract was set to expire, he was an offensive-minded head coach, he just fell short of 3rd straight Grey Cup appearance as Head Coach, and more importantly to Rider fans, he was a big part of 2 of the teams 4 Grey Cups.

Ticats’ Owner, Bob Young, made it abundantly clear that Austin was not going anywhere and after the Riders gave Chris Jones the keys to the kingdom signed Austin to an extension through the 2019 season.

Then the wheels fell off…

The Ticats just kept losing football games, and as the team lost games, Austin lost job titles.

First was General Manager to Eric Tillman, then Head Coach to June Jones, then finally he recently stepped down as Vice President to be a consultant.  I can only assume consultant means “we will pay you to not work for us… or anyone else.”

Which isn’t a bad gig if you can get it, but it is not great for your legacy in the end.

I really hope that Austin can land on his feet because he is a great football mind and did so much for the CFL. A few bad seasons shouldn’t tarnish the whole career, but time will tell.

Riders Numbers Shuffle

With training camp on the horizon, the Riders have updated some of the roster numbers that players will be wearing.

Some notable changes:

Crezdon Butler will be wearing 5 after giving Zach Collaros 17

Tobi Antigha will wear 0 allowing Zack Evans to wear his trademark 92.

With the signing of John Ojo, Christion Jones will be wearing 22 instead of 26. Jones switched to 26 last year mid-practice after giving Trent Richardson 33 when he arrived.

Speaking of 33, Jerome Messam will be wearing… 20. The Riders have been very coy with what number Messam would be wearing and they did a great job of keeping the number concealed during CFL week during the TSN photoshoots.

This essentially confirms Trent Richardson will be in camp in a few weeks…Or does it…

Richardson’s Contract Confusion

It is safe to say Trent Richardson probably didn’t take contract law at Alabama, but someone should really tell him he still has another year here.

Recently in an interview on 92.3 the Fan in Cleveland, Richardson claimed he was free to sign in the NFL but the CFL is still an option for him.

Only one problem, he is not free to do so.

You would think he would remember that considering that the team option year was the reason why he balked on coming to the CFL earlier in the season.

While gentlemen agreements about NFL interest have been made in the past, the league and its clubs have been trying to crack down to keep the talent in the league. The BC Lions were fined for outright admitting they had a handshake deal to release Micah Awe if there was NFL interest.

There was, they did, and they paid the price.

While I won’t speculate if there is a similar deal in place with the Riders and Richardson, but unless the Riders pull a Lions and self-incriminate themselves, they could release Richardson for any reason because it is a team option. There is no obligation to keep the player.

But just in case I have a free tip to the Riders, if you must release Richardson to allow him to test the NFL, just say he has a bonus due and everyone would understand.

*** Piffles Podcast is heading to the Banjo Bowl! Join us on the trip and let’s paint Winnipeg green! We will leave the Saturday morning of the game, tailgate at IGF for a little bit, watch the Riders beat the Bombers and then we will stay overnight in Winnipeg and come back to Regina on Sunday afternoon. Spots are limited and are filling up, so if this is of interest to you, let us know ASAP! It promises to be a fun time and we have some great prizes lined up to giveaway ***


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