Lions’ president ‘confident’ Mike Reilly will be with team in 2021 despite contract grievance

B.C. Lions’ president Rick LeLacheur believes franchise quarterback Mike Reilly will be with the team when the CFL returns to play in 2021.

Reilly filed a grievance against the Lions in September for guaranteed money owed to him by the franchise.

“You’ve no doubt heard the stories about Mike Reilly and his contract with the team. As I said when the story first surfaced, throughout my business career, I have never discussed personnel matters publicly nor will I now,” LeLacheur said during the Lions town hall.

According to league sources, when Reilly signed his contract worth $2.9 million in February 2019 — averaging $725,000 per season, which made him the highest-paid player in the CFL — there was additional paperwork that accompanied it.

The two sides inked an agreement that guaranteed the veteran QB a sizeable portion of his salary — believed to be in the $250,000 range. There is no language or wording in the collective bargaining agreement that prohibits teams from guaranteeing cash to players.

“In 2019, we signed Mike to a four-year contract because we believed in him being not only a winning quarterback but also an outstanding leader in the locker room and his desire to support our community programs,” LeLacheur said.

“That belief has not changed. We want Mike as an integral member of the B.C. Lions Football Club and we are confident that he will be on the field with us when training camp commences.”

No one could have foreseen a global pandemic coming — if a full football schedule had been played in 2020, the quarterback would have received the entire value of his contract. That wasn’t the case and it’s forced Reilly, backed by the CFLPA, to obtain the payment to which both sides agreed during contract negotiations.

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