Mike Reilly began meeting with CFL teams around mid-January after receiving permission from the Edmonton Eskimos.
One of the teams in the mix: the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“Sask was certainly on the list of realistic possibilities, but ultimately, when we weighed in the location along with speaking to the GMs and the coaches, it just felt B.C. was the perfect fit for us. I was open to listening to everybody. Saskatchewan had some disadvantages just based on location. Of course, it’s well known, my wife and kids make their home year round in Seattle and they commute for all the home games, so that was a benefit for B.C.”, Reilly said on CJME The Green Zone.
“For Saskatchewan, Regina is a little less accessible in terms of you gotta take flights with a layover and my wife by herself with two kids was going to make that challenging. And that was a bit of a challenge with Edmonton as well. But we also committed that we were going to find out the best football scenario that we could find and we would make the family travel work.”
Reilly says the departure of vice president of football operations and head coach Chris Jones wasn’t a factor.
“I have a great relationship with Chris Jones, we won a championship together, but the remainder of that staff is still in tact,” Reilly said. “Craig Dickenson I have a great relationship with him. He’s one of the best coaches that I’ve been around, it’s rare that you get a special teams coach that can command the respect of the entire team at the level that he does.”
The 34-year-old franchise-altering quarterback was highly sought by teams around the league.
“I don’t have anything negatives or drawbacks to say about any of the teams that we researched or met with or considered, more than anything really B.C. was such a perfect fit on and off the field, that really that was the deciding factor,” Reilly said.
Reilly inked a four-year deal worth $2.9 million with the Lions and a strong relationship with B.C. general manager Ed Hervey played a factor. Now Hervey will be counting on Reilly to keep enigmatic receiver Duron Carter on the straight and narrow.
“It’s going to be a great situation for him having a stable personality like Ed that knows how to work with guys like that, get the most out of them,” Reilly said.
Reilly called Carter soon after the two-time CFL all-star pass catcher signed on with B.C.
“The things that people have had to say about him are generally off the field or personality type of things, and I don’t get that read from him by speaking to him on the phone. I think he’s a colourful personality. It doesn’t scare me though, I’ve played with colourful personalities before,” Reilly said. “Adarius Bowman I’ve been telling people was very similar to that way when I was first met him in 2013. He had to learn from some different things earlier in his career, and once he did he became the best, most dominant receiver in our league for two or three years and a very good friend of mine. So I have the very same expectations for Duron if not higher expectations out of him.”