Ryan Phillips won’t be returning to the B.C. Lions in 2017.
The club announced Friday it has parted ways with the veteran defensive back after 12 seasons.
The statement released by the team made no reference to the 34-year-old Phillips retiring.
“After a number of conversations with Ryan this off-season regarding his role in our defence, we have mutually decided at this time that the best path for both parties is to grant him free agent status,” Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono said in a statement. “I have tremendous respect for Ryan and everything he has contributed to our organization during the past 12 years.”
Phillips played 212 regular-season games for the Lions and won the Grey Cup in 2006 and 2011. The Seattle native leaves B.C. with 47 interceptions and six touchdowns to go along with 478 defensive tackles.
Phillips appeared in all 18 games for the Lions in 2016, registering one interception and 30 defensive tackles.
“Decisions like this are never easy and are made after careful consideration,” said Buono. “We are extremely grateful for his service to the club both on and off the field and we wish him the very best.”
CFL free agency opens Tuesday.