Departures leave Riders dealing with multiple roster holes

Veteran defensive tackle Tearrius George, charged with assaulting his partner, is the latest to join a parade of departing Saskatchewan Roughriders.

George cited personal issues and requested privacy in the wake of his announced retirement, while the Roughriders added more information in their media release, stating specifically that George, 33, is involved in “a police matter” which is “before the courts.”

Regina Police Services confirmed George was facing a charge for physically assaulting his 33-year-old female partner in late April while a toddler was present.

Nine months ago the CFL established a campaign that strictly outlined its policy of preventing violence against women. Many of the league’s players have become actively involved as advocates for the anti-violence campaign.

Last month the Roughriders lost receiver Maurice Price, an offseason acquisition from the Ottawa RedBlacks, who insisted the Lord told him to retire — after signing a new contract that paid him a bonus reportedly worth $30,000.

On the day George retired, offensive lineman Bruce Campbell filed his retirement papers, according to 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk. Campbell had been acquired in an offseason trade from the Toronto Argonauts.

The Roughriders surrendered fourth-, sixth- and seventh- round draft choices to obtain Campbell and Price, respectively, although they received a sixth-rounder in the latter deal from Ottawa.

George, an eight-year CFL veteran, spent the past five seasons with Saskatchewan and — because of his low salary and ability to be effective at a hard-to-replace, strong-side tackle spot — had apparently dodged the offseason purge orchestrated by new head coach/GM/VP of football ops Chris Jones that left only seven returning starters from last year’s 3-15 squad.

Among the purged players were long-term stalwarts like Tyron Brackenridge, Weston Dressler, John Chick, Chris Getzlaf, Xavier Fulton and Macho Harris, guys who had committed themselves to Saskatchewan’s franchise.

George is the first Rider to face domestic violence charges since the league’s new initiative. The Roughriders certainly and ethically demanded George retire in light of his situation. It doesn’t clarify George’s legal situation, but it does allow the football team to move forward without a player who can desecrate the team’s new image.

Three players who were expected to become starters have unexpectedly left the team in the final weeks before training camp opens. Jones, along with assistant VPs John Murphy and Jeremy O’Day, won’t admit it, but they must be going bonkers trying to handle hese defections.

Losing players who can’t commit to the team or the CFL’s ethics is probably a good thing, but it leaves holes in the team’s depth chart, holes in its drafting strategy and and holes in its soul.

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