If TSN reporter Farhan Lalji had to bet on the Lions next GM, his pick would be Geroy Simon

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The B.C. Lions have a major role to fill with the departure of former general manager Ed Hervey.

Hervey left the position on Friday, October 16 and the position has since remained unfilled. Vancouver-based TSN reporter Farhan Lalji has covered the Lions for years and views the league’s 2006 Most Outstanding Player as the favourite to be named the new GM.

“If I was betting, I’d bet it’ll be Geroy Simon. A lot of names are going to come out of the woodwork, I think you’ll hear names like Chris Jones and many others that have been in and around the league that are going to express an interest,” Lalji said on TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver.

“Every assistant GM in the league is going to want this job. From the Lions’ perspective, I don’t think they’re going to want to spend a ton, so to elevate I think matters and to give a younger GM a first opportunity so that you’re not having to pay an arm and a leg will matter.”

Following 15 seasons in the CFL — 12 with the Lions — Simon finished his career as the league’s all-time leading receiver with 16,352 yards. He won three Grey Cups, two with B.C. and one in Saskatchewan, and was named a CFL all-star six times. That resume earned Simon superstar status across Canada, especially in British Columbia.

“Just somebody who can resonate with the fan base and be engaging. I have not had any conversations with Rick LeLacheur or David Braley to lead me to believe that’s the guy, it’s just my own opinion and personal speculation,” Lalji said.

“He’s gone out and scouted, he’s charismatic, he can sell the brand, and Geroy is smart enough to know what he’s good at and smart enough to know where he’s going to need help.”

After a year spent in the Roughriders’ front office, Simon rejoined the Lions in February 2015 and he’s been scouting for B.C. ever since. Simon was learning under Wally Buono until the CFL legend retired following the 2018 season. Buono remains close with Braley and that relationship could pave the way for Simon to be installed as GM.

“The name recognition will matter. That’s what will ultimately get him to the top of the list,” Lalji said.

“That would be my expectation, that at some point in the new calendar year when we’ve got some certainty on what 2021 in the CFL will look like, that would be a likely and logical plan.”

Lalji’s sense, mainly due to money, is the hiring of a GM won’t happen until there is certainty with regards to the league’s return-to-play plan.