Former Montreal Alouettes linebacker Bear Woods was released by the club for reporting safety infractions to the players’ union, according to a report in the French-language newspaper La Presse.
Citing anonymous sources, reporter Miguel Bujold says that Woods – who was CFLPA player rep in Montreal – complained to the union after the Alouettes held padded practices on the first day of training camp, in violation of the collective bargaining agreement.
According to the story, he was released by general manager Kavis Reed the following morning and without the knowledge of head coach Jacques Chapdelaine.
The move surprised many across the league, given that Woods was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the East Division last season. He signed with the Toronto Argonauts just over a week later.
Reed said at the time that the team wanted to go with younger players – Woods is 30 – and Chapdelaine publicly expressed his displeasure over how the situation was handled. Reed fired Chapdelaine on Sept. 13 and took over as head coach.
The story also alleges that Woods, who spent five seasons will the club, was not permitted to say goodbye to teammates after his release from the club.
Reed denied the La Presse report.
“It’s 100% wrong. Our decision was related to football and I have said so many times. We decided to release Bear Woods because of the players we had. It was not fair for him to keep him with the team when we thought we had players who could succeed him. He was not released for reasons other than football,” Reed is quoted as saying. “Your source disrespected Bear because it implied that he would have done something to harm the Alouettes.”