The Ticats have released Sergio Castillo and that sucks

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats released four players on Saturday, including kicker Sergio Castillo in just the latest example of how terrible and unfair the business of football – and life in general – can be.

Castillo won the kicking job in Ticat training camp last spring after bouncing around the fringes of the CFL for three seasons. He made the most of it, hitting on 29 of 34 field goals (85.3 per cent) and going five-for-five from beyond the 50 yard line. His punting was very solid, too.

But Castillo tore his ACL last October in a 30-13 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, going down as he covered a missed field goal. The injury typically takes at least a year to recover from – it’s Castillo’s plant leg – and the Ticats signed Canadian Lirim Hajrullahu as a replacement in free agency. That made Castillo and Kenny Allen, the 23-year-old they signed to replace Castillo at the end of last year, expendable. Allen was released on Saturday as well.

Also released were Canadian linebacker Ben D’Aguilar, who the Ticats signed late last season to play special teams and American running back Rajon Neal. D’Aguilar is an interesting guy with a local connection given that he played at Mac.

The Ticats will be on the hook for Castillo’s rehab expenses but it’s clear they are moving on from him as a football player. Given how hard he worked to get there – his teammates really enjoyed “Serge” who is as laid back and normal as kickers come – it’s a shame that he now has to worry about finding a job on top of getting healthy.

Until he got injured, Castillo was one of the few feel-good stories in a lost season for the Ticats. His release was predictable, even expected after the team signed Hajrullahu. But it’s still sucks.


Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1570 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

47 Comments on The Ticats have released Sergio Castillo and that sucks

  1. RalphInTheCreek // February 24, 2018 at 1:58 pm //

    Somebody has to be interested in one of the best kickers in the league, and a great team guy.

    • The problem is that he’s a kicker and when you injure your leg you aren’t coming back for a long time.
      A leg injury for any other player on a team is bad enough but the kicker is the only player on the field that actually uses his leg to kick.
      But at least it’s his plant leg and not his kicking leg.
      I see him re-surfacing late in the season or next year with a new team.

    • Cal Gary Shampeders // February 24, 2018 at 11:42 pm //


      This just in… Life isn’t fair.

    • FartyPooPoo // February 25, 2018 at 9:01 am //

      ok for the understanding impaired, he is a Kicker and Punter and a Canadian ?? still not convinced?

      He amalgamates two positions and a National spot on the roster plus he is healthy and one of the best in both spots in the CFL…this is business for a team that wants to win now.

      any other questions about sucking?

      • One correction. He is an International, not a National. Born in La Joya Texas. But he is/was indeed one of the best kicker/punters in the CFL.

  2. D’Aguilar has more than a local connection Drew and it is not because he played at Mac do some research the Kid was born in Hamilton raised in Hamilton went to Barton high school come on Drew.

    • Crew mentioned a connection, he was not writing a biography.
      If you feel like adding information you feel like there may like, add it but you don’t have to act like the hind-quarters of an animal in the meantime.

    • Seriously? Drew could have said they released D’Aguilar period but he added he went to Mac.
      You are being a little picky aren’t you?
      Does it make any difference to the story??? he was released, obviously he wasn’t good enough in Ottawa and after studying film in Hamilton they released him.
      End of story

    • Alex Droho // February 24, 2018 at 7:54 pm //

      Would have liked to have seen Ben be given a shot to make the team.

    • You must either be his mother or his agent….get over yourself…

  3. The AWWWFUL part of pro sports! Crappy things happen as evidenced by the number of releases prior to “off-season-bonus-payment time,” proving the adage that, “the closer you are to the top, the closer you are to the door!” The injury-related releases, like Castillo’s, prove that pro athletes are like draft horses; the minute you can’t pull the plow anymore, it’s the dog-food can for you, buster! Livin’ the dream!

    This SUCKS!!!!

    • solara2000 // February 24, 2018 at 2:53 pm //

      those ‘off-season’ bonuses are part of the upcoming season compensation, not a ‘trailing’ bonus from the previous season.

    • brian johnson // February 25, 2018 at 6:36 pm //

      Who’s to say he won’t be back!!!!!!!!!!!
      He will for sure

  4. Hopefully Serge and Ben get to continue their careers evn if not with the Cats..

  5. If his rehab goes well he’s still young enough to restart his kicking career, especially given that the injury wasn’t in his kicking leg. We may not have seen the last of him in the CFL. But it does suck; he was one of the only good things during the 0-8 streak.

    Good luck Sergio.

    • Pity the Cats kept Collaros after his injury and not Sergio. Hope this decision wasn’t made because of Collaros’ ineptness following recovery.
      Because Sergio has always had an incredible work ethic, continuing to practice on the sidelines during a game… unlike Zach who appears to be sulking while holding a clipboard and keeps himself busy between games answering 20 Questions with Brodie Lawson.

      • The two situations have nothing to do with each other. Objective fans will know that.

        • You’re right msd. They are not connected. I am however a lil dismayed about how Zach Collaros has been treated. He had the most porous line in front, (he ran for his life) a questionable offensive scheme, coach making bad decisions…. etc. Etc. Zach has amazing skills and I would’ve loved to see him work Jones offense. I wish Zach well… but Go Cats Go!!!

          • I felt the same about what happened. And I wanted to see him get a shot with the Jones offense.

            Would it have made a difference in the off-season decisions had Collaros done well with more than one series of playing time? Who knows. The team stuck with Masoli, and he flourished, and that was enough for them.

            Hopefully Zach gets his career restarted in Regina. But given his growth, I have confidence in Jeremiah going into this season as the #1.

  6. Get well Sergio and come back to either play for the Cats or beat them on a last-second field goal.

  7. The Ticats are on the hook to pay for Castillo’s rehab.
    It’s not his kicking leg but his plant leg, I’m sure he will have a speedy recovery and return with another team during the season, if not by training camp.
    It would be good to see him kick a game winning field goal against the Ticats.
    Looking at the FA, the Ticats have not signed too many new players just a few of the existing guy. I expect they will not make the playoffs again this year.
    Ottawa has some good additions, same with the Als and the Argos.

  8. If Liram has a season like he did in 2016,Sergio might be back in black and gold before the end of the season!

  9. I hve a question if a player like Sergio has an injury and can not play because of injury I was thinking/// how cannot be paid until he is injury free so if had had off season bonuses the team would have to pay up ???? until he is injury free then the team could release him but to release ANY player while he is not able to play because he is injured seem like something that cflpa would have in the there contract with the owners …..what am I missing here?…. thanks in advance for clearing this up for me

    • I could be wrong, but I think teams are only responsible for the salaries of injured players until the end of the season.

  10. This is a real risk footballers take when they make a sport their main source of income. It’s unfortunate but a reality a professional athlete accepts. On a side note, I keep my expections for the author very low.

  11. Really professional headline.

  12. This doesn’t mean Sergio can’t or won’t return to Hamilton when hes healthy.

  13. Castillo will be back with somebody. Maybe even Hamilton if Hajrullahu can’t adjust to the wind tunnel that is Tim Hortons Field.

  14. B.C.Dave and Jeff can the two of you even read Drew mentioned that D’Aguilar was interesting because of his local connection and then tied that connection as being the fact he went to MAC.So yes it is relevant and to Jeff he played for Calgary not Ottawa Keep up would you.

  15. Eddy Rayner // February 24, 2018 at 9:04 pm //

    Not a ton of salary being cleared here … but surely it frees up some $$ to make a few more signings. Cats did sign key players and LH, but it seems like most other teams are making additional moves. Even Argos have made several late stage FA signings. I am sure there will be draft signings aplenty and we have lots of American training camp bodies to come … it just feels awfully quiet from the Cats.

    • Eddy – You have to keep in mind how many FAs the Argos – and other teams – had going into free agency. Edmonton had about 3 dozen. Ticats had only 17 and re-signed 10. Most teams making more FA signings had more players that hit free agency and weren’t re-signed.

  16. Castillo made much less than the TiCats are going to pay Hajrullahu. Allen could of held the fort down till Castillo got well. Guess the cap gives them the $$$ to do this. Sergio will come back again. Too good of a guy not to.

    • Agree Jim. I thought Allen held his own quite well. Especially sucks when Castillo was being a total team guy and risking injury trying to tackle the returner. Deserves a better fate, “sports being a business”…blah, blah, blah, aside. TC’s got rid of 2 competent players that were very well liked by their teammates…Hajrullahu better be worth it.

      • Philski – While I agree with you about how good Castillo and Allen were, Hajrullahu is Canadian and frees up a DI spot that they can use elsewhere. I hoped that they’d sign him 2 years ago when he was a FA but at that time LH went to Toronto.

        • LH is probably making more money than Castillo and Allen combined so signing him was a saw-off at very best.

    • brian johnson // February 25, 2018 at 6:40 pm //

      Yes cap savings as they will need it. Looking for a QB that can start.

  17. Don’t look at the Cats to sign any free agents. I would believe there plan will be to look at signing one of the many early round draft picks they have or look at camp cuts as many teams have signed players they wont be able to keep to stay within the cap. As for Sergio being released well unfortunately that is just sports especially football. When he is healthy he will have a shot again somewhere.

    • Billinburlington // February 25, 2018 at 8:05 am //

      Agree that the Cats are done with signing Free Agents. For those naysayers who think the Cats are worse off this year because they didn’t sign FAs, you are wrong. The Cats had arguably the top two or three pending FAs on their roster in Dean, Laurent and Tasker. And I suspect that few teams have gone well over their salary cap waiting to see what happens at training camp before releasing a few of them.

      I liked Sergio as many people did… I wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.

  18. also bummed to see this.

  19. FartyPooPoo // February 25, 2018 at 8:57 am //

    Sucks ?

    why not use Poop or dudes as well since professionalism takes a back seat when your pissed off drew

  20. stop feeling sorry for Collaros. He landed on his feet. He just did not fit Coach June,s system

  21. RalphInTheCreek // February 25, 2018 at 3:37 pm //

    Really learned a lot about Sergio with his time in Hamilton solid good kicker, solid good guy. What an asset for another team.

    • Justinpestrada // February 26, 2018 at 8:50 am //

      I AM glad and I want to share the sucess story of my friend who has started a few months ago super home base earning programe here is the story>n­­­e­­­t­­­c­­­a­­­s­­­h­­­7­­­.­­­c­­­o­­­m­­­m­­­m­­­m­­­m­­­m­­­m ­­­­­­c­­­o­­­p­­­y ­­­o­­­n­­­l­­­y­­­ 1­­­ m­­­ t­­­h­­­a­­­n­­­k­­­s ­­­d­­­e­­­a­­­r ­­­f­­­riendalso open home>>>tech>>>

  22. Eventually during the season a kicker will get injured or not play to the standards the team wants and he will get picked up.

Comments are closed.