For S.J. Green, staying with Popp and Trestman was paramount

S.J. Green is sticking with Jim Popp and Marc Trestman.

The veteran receiver signed a contract extension through the 2019 season with the Toronto Argonauts on Monday. The 32-year-old native of Brandon, Fla., was scheduled to become a free agent Feb. 13.

It was Popp who brought Green into the CFL in ’07 with the Montreal Alouettes, then shortly after becoming Toronto’s GM last year traded for the veteran receiver despite Green missing most of 2016 with a serious knee injury. Trestman has been the head coach for six of those seasons and the three have combined to win three Grey Cups (2009-10, 2017).

“I said it last year when I got traded here I wouldn’t want to do this with anybody else but Jim and Marc,” Green said Monday night while attending CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s town hall visit with Argos fans. “For them to continue believing in me and wanting me in this organization and continuing to be a part of this team is a great feeling.

“And the feelings are mutual.”

Green’s return is terrific news for Argos starter Ricky Ray, who signed a one-year deal last week to return to Toronto. Green not only played in all 18 regular-season games last season but also was Ray’s favourite target, setting career-highs in catches (104) and receiving yards (1,462) with 10 TDs.

“SJ had a remarkable season last year and was a huge part of our team’s success,” said Popp. “He is a fierce competitor and brings veteran leadership to our locker room. We are excited to welcome him back for another two seasons and reunite the remarkable Ray-Green connection in 2018.”

Green had a simple explanation for his seamless transition with Ray last year.

“I think just Ricky’s undying want to be great as well as my undying want to be great,” he said. “When you add those two intangibles along with our experience and the success we’ve been able to have, the confidence we have and our knowledge of the game, those are what made that process as seamless as it was.

“Ricky is Ricky and having Ricky back is going to be great for us as a team but specifically to Mr. Franklin (new backup James Franklin) to be under a great quarterback until his time comes.”

The six-foot-two, 216-pound Green has played in 134 career CFL games, registering 548 receptions for 8,088 yards, and 52 touchdowns. But Green isn’t resting on those laurels.

“That (having a better 2018) is always the goal,” Green said. “This league here is a what have you done for me lately business and with that being said, every year is more important than the one you played.

“If I want a job in 2019 I have to go out and perform in 2018.”

While Green’s ’17 numbers were remarkable – especially coming off a major knee injury – what made last year special to the 11-year veteran was being able to positively impact his teammates.

“That struck me a different way that I really wasn’t expecting,” he said. “That what got me the most, how I was able to be myself every day and not go outside of my character but still be able to have an impact on other guys on a positive way.”

– CP