Departing Riders director of football operations Ryan Pollock plans to take behind-the-scenes stories ‘to the grave’

What happens in Riderville, stays in Riderville.

It’s a slogan not quite as catchy as its Vegas counterpart, but a philosophy that Ryan Pollock intends to live by nonetheless.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders director of football operations announced he was stepping down from his role with the team on Thursday in order to become general manager of the Royal Regina Golf Club. Pollock leaves the organization after nine years with more than his fair share of stories, few of which will ever see the light of day.

“You make so many relationships and you build a lot of trust with people. People confide in you and you confide in people, so with all due respect, one of the things I’m going to take a lot of pride in moving forward is that some of those situations will go to the grave with me,” he told Derek Taylor on The SportsCage in Regina.

“I have a ton of respect for the people that I worked with and had those experiences with. I’m sure there’ll be a couple that come up over a coffee or another beverage some night, but I have so much respect for everyone that’s gone through there that I’ll always keep it above board.”

Pollock has worked for the Riders since 2012 when he assumed the role of the team’s director of media relations and football communications. He took over as director of football operations in February of 2019, where he was responsible for the management of the salary cap, execution of player contracts, organization of free agent camps and support to all administrative needs of the football operations department.

During his tenure, Pollock worked closely with notable CFL character that include the likes of former head coach Chris Jones, current general manager Jeremy O’Day and Toronto Argonauts vice-president of player personnel John Murphy. Along the way, he’s dealt with an eclectic mix of players ranging from outspoken receiver Duron Carter to NFL cast-off Vince Young.

Pollock freely admits those internal dynamics made for an interesting work environment, but not an unpleasant one.

“Every day something was going on and it was always entertaining, good, bad or indifferent,” he explained.

“I think whenever you put groups of people together, in that mix you’re going to have different characters. Not every day are people going to get along and not every day are things going to go your way, but I tell you what, there was a lot more good days than bad days.”

Pollock remains comfortable sharing plenty of anecdotes about how Jones’ Tennessee accent confused reporters, but the real peak behind the curtain will remain a secret. Still, he doesn’t begrudge fans or media for asking. He’d want to know too if he was in their shoes.

“I’m the same way as a sports fan. I understand that people want to know what happens behind the scenes,” Pollock admitted.

“The stories that people clamor for happen a lot less than people think and there was always a real good group to be around, but we saw and did some things that I’m sure could fill more than one book. I think we could write a trilogy no problem and it would be a bestseller for sure.”

Those stories might captivate an audience, but they are also treasured memories for a man who will always be a Rider at heart. Pollock calls his departure ‘bittersweet’, careful to note that while the current uncertainty around the CFL ‘opened his eyes’ to other opportunities, it wasn’t his primary reason for moving on.

This is simply the next step in life for a born and bred Regina native who was lucky enough to live out his dream with his childhood team.

“It was truly an honor. It’s nine years of my life that I never took for granted and I’ll never forget it,” Pollock said.

“It was truly an amazing experience, being a guy from Regina, growing up in University section and being one of those guys up there, to be able to be a part of it. To celebrate a Grey Cup championship was a truly unbelievable experience. I’m going to continue to be a fan. I’ll be their biggest supporter and I’ll definitely be watching closely.”

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