Star linebacker Solomon Elimimian has been given permission to be absent from Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp to take care of his players’ union duties.
The CFL and CFLPA have ratified a new three-year collective agreement. Elimimian is carrying out his executive staff responsibilities by travelling to teams and helping players understand the terms of the pact.
“We were told when he left two or three days ago that we could expect him to be gone up to five days, so I don’t know if we’ll see him for another few days,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said after practice on Tuesday.
“Honestly, we want him to go, we want him to do his job and help the players because I think that’s important. So however long it takes is however long it takes and we’ll work with him when he gets back. I know he’s got PA responsibilities and we want him to fulfill those.”
Elimimian signed a one-year contract worth approximately $160,000 in early May after the B.C. Lions released the veteran defender. The final year of the Lions pact would have paid Elimimian in the $200,000 range. Leos general manager Ed Hervey felt Elimimian’s time is up as an elite player in the CFL. Agent Bardia Ghahremani accused Hervey of ‘shady business’ surrounding the handling and timing of Elimimian’s release.
The 32-year-old Elimimian played nine years in Vancouver and compiled an impressive resume, bursting on the scene in 2010 as the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie. He became the first strictly defensive player to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award in 2014, earning two Most Outstanding Defensive Player Awards and five CFL all-star nods.
Through 118 career games, Elimimian has made 745 tackles, 36 special teams stops, 29 sacks, eight interceptions and eight forced fumbles. The Lions won the 2011 Grey Cup on home turf with Elimimian as the club’s defensive leader.
Elimimian will bring the same type of leadership to the Riders when he returns to the green and white.