Second act in Saskatchewan: Riders renew contract for star linebacker Solomon Elimimian

Screenshot courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed star linebacker Solomon Elimimian to a one-year contract through the 2020 season, per sources.

Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary all had varying interest in Elimimian. However, the Riders really valued the leadership he brought to the green and white.

The 33-year-old Elimimian was named a West Division all-star last season after recording 88 tackles — tops in the West — four sacks and one forced fumble in 15 games during his first year in the prairies.

Elimimian signed a one-year contract and earned nearly $150,000 with the Riders after the B.C. Lions released the standout defender in 2019. The final year of his Lions pact would have paid Elimimian in the $200,000 range.

Leos general manager Ed Hervey felt Elimimian’s time was 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 veteran linebacker played nine years in Vancouver and compiled an impressive resume, bursting on the scene in 2010 as the CFL’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 while on the Left coast.

Through 133 career games, Elimimian has made 833 tackles, 36 special teams stops, 33 sacks, eight interceptions and nine forced fumbles. The Lions won the 2011 Grey Cup on home turf with Elimimian as the club’s defensive leader.

While playing for Saskatchewan last year, Elimimian displayed he can still play at a high level regardless of his age.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.