Unclear if Riders’ Chris Jones tried trading Duron Carter before release

By his own admission, Chris Jones released a “very good player” when the Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach and general manager¬†gave Duron Carter his walking papers.

But it’s unclear if Jones tried dealing Carter before cutting Saskatchewan’s top receiver last season prior to the Riders (3-4) home game Sunday night versus the Calgary Stampeders (7-0), especially with four other teams – Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal and B.C. – now interested in Carter following his release.

That’s not to suggest Jones could’ve commanded a first-round pick for the six-foot-five, 205-pound Carter. After all, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got a conditional ’19 eighth-round selection last month from Montreal for Adarius Bowman, a four-time 1,000-yard receiver.

However, Carter is six years Bowman’s junior and can play on both sides of the ball as well as return kicks.

Jones wouldn’t offer specific reasons for Carter’s departure. Jones said he and Carter met daily during the ’17 season, and although that practice ended this year the two still huddled periodically.

Carter accumulated a team-leading 1,043 yards on 73 catches in 2017, his first with the Riders, and was tied with Naaman Roosevelt with eight receiving TDs. Carter also started at cornerback Oct. 20, recording a 43-yard interception return TD in a 30-7 win over Calgary.

Carter started five games on defence this season after cornerback Nick Marshall (wrist) was injured. He had five catches for 59 yards and a TD in Saskatchewan’s last game, a 26-19 loss to Edmonton on Aug. 2, and finished with eight receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown overall.

Carter is certainly no saint. There were reports an altercation with a teammate led to his release, something Jones wouldn’t address directly.

In 2016, Carter was suspended for one game after bumping Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell during a game. He and fellow receiver Kenny Stafford were released later that season following an incident during practice with quarterback Rakeem Cato.

Last off-season, Carter got into legal hot water with two marijuana possession charges. One remains before the courts in Saskatoon but Carter received an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to an earlier charge in Winnipeg.

Still, the outspoken and gregarious Carter is popular with fans, having over 22,000 Twitter followers. Last November before the East Division final in Toronto, Carter paid $351 to take 26 Riders supporters to a screening of the superhero film “Justice League.”

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