Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson questions Duron Carter’s love for football

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson is nothing if not honest.

The current Riders’ bench boss was with the green and white for the one-and-a-half seasons infamous receiver Duron Carter spent in Regina. And Dickenson didn’t hide his assessment of Carter on and off the football field.

“Where he gets in trouble — the season is a grind — it’s a long season and he’s not any different than a lot of guys. He’s so intelligent and he’s got a lot of things he likes doing that I think football sometimes is not No. 1, maybe it’s No. 2 or 1A. And then it gets hard for him to stay focused on that,” Dickenson said on Growing The Game With Ballsy, hosted by CKRM’s Michael Ball.

“He’s got an extreme amount of talent, but if you don’t really, really love football — that’s the one thing about football, you can’t kind of like football. If you don’t love football eventually you’ll just find other things to do because it’s not easy pushing your body through the pain and the injuries and the training that you gotta to do to be a football player.”

Carter’s best CFL season came in 2017 with Saskatchewan when he led the Riders with 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns (including one on defence). Those numbers earned Carter the Riders’ Most Outstanding Player award.

“He is a good person. I’ve had a good relationship with Duron ever since I met him a few years ago when he was on our team. He’s highly intelligent, cares about his teammates, wants to do the right thing, he’s not a bad guy whatsoever,” Dickenson said.

Chris Jones re-signed Carter for the 2018 season and he was due to make $144,000 in hard money. He made eight receptions for 111 yards in seven games while recording 13 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown plus one knockdown as a defensive back before Saskatchewan cut him that August, which was a surprise to Carter.

“The social media thing hurt him a little bit in terms of not necessarily anything more than it just takes away focus on what’s important, which is your game and your training. If you get hung up in things that aren’t related to you as a football player and getting better, it can take away from your game,” Dickenson said.

“I don’t fault guys that decide, ‘Football, I like it, but I don’t love it to the point where I’m going to dedicate my life to it.’ Unfortunately, if you don’t dedicate your life to it, things happen where you start dropping off a little bit and I think that happens to a lot of players.”

The star pass catcher ‘definitely would’ be open to a return with the prairies if the current regime of Dickenson and general manager Jeremy O’Day came calling. But based on Dickenson’s comments, it doesn’t seem like a Riders reunion is in the future for Carter.