According to B.C. Lions general manager Ed Hervey, the decision to release linebacker Solomon Elimimian wasn’t personal or related to his union activities but a cold-blooded assessment of his football skills.
“We’re the ones watching the film, we see the players on film and we know when a player’s time is up and that’s the decision that we made.”
“But as far as do I feel sorry for the decisions that I made? No, because unfortunately this job requires you to make decisions that are unpopular. If I made decisions based on what everyone wanted my team would be 40 years old and that’s just not the way we do business.
“Solomon is a great player and he will always be remembered as a great B.C. Lion., but do I feel sorry for the decision I made to make our team better? Absolutely not,” Hervey said on TSN radio in Vancouver.
“I don’t lose sleep over the fact that we had to make the decision, nor am I losing sleep over the fact that we made the decision. The reality is Solomon Elimimian will land on his feet, he’ll be a good player wherever he ends up going, but my interest is for the B.C. Lions moving forward.”
Elimimian played nine years for B.C. becoming the first defensive player to be named CFL MOP in 2014, won the Most Outstanding Rookie Award in 2010, two Most Outstanding Defensive Player Awards (2014 and 2016) along with a Grey Cup ring in 2011.
The veteran linebacker felt there was a change of course with the Lions and the new powers that be in Hervey and head coach DeVone Claybrooks.
“It was a difficult decision, but it’s business. I know it was an unpopular decision and I know people are still hurt by it and people are still questioning it and wondering why the timing and all that, but there’s never a good time to release a player.
“And the fact of the matter is, every decision that we make – whether you like it or not – is to make our football team better and that’s how I feel. Every decision that we’ve made thus far makes our football team better, whether that’s Solomon Elimimian’s name mentioned in it or anyone else,” Hervey said.
“We have these long conversations about the player, the performance, the expectation, what we’re going to get moving forward, and more importantly, in Solomon’s case, we understand how it’s going to impact the fan base and how fans are so attached to players who’ve been around a long time.
“But that’s the reality is that we’re moving in a different direction to try to get this fan base and give ourselves the best chance at winning. We understand Solomon’s a great player, great in the community, it wasn’t an easy decision, but business is business.”
Elimimian suffered a wrist injury that limited him to just four games last season. He took a pay cut before the 2018 campaign to stay in B.C. Through nine seasons in Vancouver, Elimimian recording 745 tackles, 36 special teams stops, 29 sacks, eight interceptions and right forced fumbles in 118 career games. Many around the league have questioned the decision to release Elimimian.
“Unfortunately, for those who are looking at the situation and wondering why we couldn’t keep him around, we have a cap to adhere to and we tried our best but it didn’t work out. There’s nothing personal in the decision regardless of what’s trying to be placed out there. The fact is I didn’t get into this business to make decisions that everyone else wants me to make. We feel very confident that we made the right decision,” Hervey said.
Elimimian’s agent Bardia Ghahremani accused Hervey of ‘shady business’ and had concerns about the way the Lions GM handled the release of his star client. It’s not the first time Ghahremani has put Hervey in his sights: he fired back at B.C.’s GM after Hervey questioned the work ethic of former Lions quarterback Jon Jennings, also a Ghahremani client. Jennings wasn’t re-signed by the Lions and Elimimian won’t be a member of the club anymore.
“Here’s the reality of sentiment: the football business is a tough business. The unfortunate thing about our business is that we have to make these decisions and at times great players are traded, great players are released, great players get injured and no longer play,” Hervey said.
“As far as sentimental feelings, I have a ton of respect for Solomon, I had a ton of respect for him when I was an opponent, as an opposing GM, I had a ton of respect coming in, and I still have a ton of respect for Solomon.”