Multiple CFL sources say the relationship between defensive end Shawn Lemon and the Saskatchewan has gone sour and the club is actively trying to trade the 27-year-old.
Lemon is listed third on the depth chart for Thursday’s season-opener against Toronto and some say he could be scratched from the game day roster. Sources say there is friction between Lemon and the coaching staff led by new vice president of football operations and head coach Chris Jones.
“Trouble in paradise. Probably not a Chris Jones guy,” said one CFL personnel man. “They dangled him more than a week ago.”
Lemon was originally signed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2011, moved on to Saskatchewan that same year, then spent time in the Arena and Indoor Football Leagues. He joined the Eskimos in 2012, then broke out with the Calgary Stampeders in 2014, recording 13 sacks and eight forced fumbles (a CFL record) while winning a Grey Cup championship.
After pursuing NFL opportunities, Lemon signed with the Ottawa Redblacks last September, adding five sacks during the team’s run to the Grey Cup. He left the nation’s capital to chase the NFL a second time but ultimately signed with the Roughriders in January, a move that led to a Twitter spat between Lemon and Ottawa general manager Marcel Desjardins.
Lemon maintained a high profile over the winter and was part of the Saskatchewan contingent sent to Toronto for a marketing and media blitz in April. But things have not gone according to plan on the field in Regina.
“Lemon wants out to be a starter elsewhere,” said another source.
Saskatchewan signed Lemon to a contract worth a reported $170,000 for 2016 with a whopping $85,000 signing bonus – which will count against the Riders’ cap even if they are able to move him. Despite the reduced financial burden, sources say the market for Lemon isn’t robust.
“Not. Much.” said a CFL source when asked about what Lemon might bring in a trade. “It’s going to be hard to do.”