Former Riders’ defensive tackle Garrett Marino signs with USFL

Photo courtesy: CFL

Controversial former Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive tackle Garrett Marino has signed with the United States Football League.

Marino shared the news on his Twitter account late Sunday night, while also posting a screenshot of the confirmed transaction from the USFL on his private Instagram story. Neither post provided details regarding which team he has been assigned to, though his Twitter bio indicates he will be a member of the Michigan Panthers.

Marino was released by the Riders earlier this month after a string of on-field incidents were deemed a “distraction” by the organization. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie later issued a memo to all nine CFL teams, warning them against signing the Orange County, California native and suggesting that he could refuse to register the contract on the grounds of player safety.

The six-foot-two, 290-pound defensive tackle made national headlines earlier this year when he was suspended for four games after illegally hitting Ottawa Redblacks’ quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, uttering racial language at Masoli, and illegally hitting offensive lineman Dino Boyd. It was the longest suspension the CFL has ever imposed for in-game behaviour during a single contest.

The team issued a written apology on Marino’s behalf and he apologized after returning from suspension ahead of Saskatchewan’s game against the B.C. Lions in Week 11. He also indicated that he would “love to” apologize to Masoli — who suffered a serious injury on the play — but admitted that he had not yet done so.

Marino promised to play smarter but was fined after the game for unnecessary roughness on offensive lineman Peter Godber. He also hit Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros during the Labour Day Classic after he had already gotten rid of the football, sparking the online backlash that lead to his release.

The UAB product played in 15 games over two seasons in Saskatchewan, recording 22 tackles and five sacks.

The USFL became the latest attempt at an American spring football league when it kicked off its inaugural season in April of 2022. The league is a joint venture between founder Brian Woods and Fox Sports, which currently finds itself in direct competition with the CFL for players.