Star linebacker Solomon Elimimian is expected to be back at Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp on Monday, according to head coach Craig Dickenson.
Elimimian was given permission to be absent from 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.
“Our bargaining committee and executive felt it was extremely important that we were able to get into each room and talk to the membership face-to-face coming out of what was a long set of negotiations,” CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay said.
“For our bargaining committee which consisted of four active members, and the timing of that pushed right up to training camp. Because of the time commitment made by some of those members, it’s simply just a matter of being able to get everything appropriately in order to be able to attend camp.”
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.