Riders GM O’Day says many tough decisions had to be made when it comes to who stays and who goes

The Riders released 23 players, put 12 on the practice roster and returned four players to junior on Saturday as they get ready for the start of the 2019 season which begins Thursday in Hamilton.

Three of the biggest cuts were to QB David Watford, DL Chad Geter and DB Crezdon Butler.

Riders GM Jeremy O’Day answered questions on the cuts Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium.


  • On the toughest cut to make:   “To be honest, they were all difficult.  It wasn’t a fun day and it is the worst part of my job to tell players they are no longer a part of the team.  Its particularly difficult when those cuts involve veterans.
  • On who gets released  “You have to make important decisions and take  the information you have in front of you.  We sat down with the coaching staff and went through the whole roster to get their input with Craig and I then sitting down to make the final decisions
  • On Isaac Harker making the team:  Issac earned it and that’s the way you want it. You don’t want it to be given to you. His performance Thursday certainly helped him as he was able to execute under live situations.  Practice is different than a game as you get time to process things and you know what you are going to get defensively.  It isn’t like that in a game so you have to process at a high level for the unexpected.




  • On quarterbacks as a whole:  “It changes so fast, but hopefully the past performance will carry over into the regular season. We feel good about our three guys.  We are happy Zach got in and had a decent game while getting hit a couple of times to knock off the cobwebs. I think he’s excited for the game.  Cody did well in training camp and in Calgary so the battle was for the third spot. We debated whether or not we wanted to keep a fourth on the practice roster, but decided against it.
  • On release of Crezdon Butler and Chad Geter:  A lot of things come into play.  With Crezdon, it was case of youth vs experience. You are trying to predict where the ceiling is at and the future.  Sometimes tough decisions have to be made.  That was a tough one for us as was Chad’s release.  He was one of our top special teams players last year and he’s only 24.  We just felt right now Lavar Edwards earned that spot through training camp and the pre-season games.  The roster isn’t just big enough.
  • On receiver Paul McRoberts:  Paul had an excellent camp until he came down with a tooth infection that prevented him from doing things for a while.  Its more than just practice and games though.  He is doing a great job and we are glad he has seen he is in our plans and has accepted a practice roster spot.  Naaman Roosevelt started his career on the practice roster.  He needs a little more time to learn the game, but we think he does a lot of things well.

O’Day also spoke on the health of linebacker Solomon Elimimian.  He has not practiced with the team due to a calf injury.  O’Day says he won’t be in the lineup for a few weeks, but that it isn’t a long-term thing.  O’Day says it won’t be a long absence, but he won’t be in the lineup for the immediate future.

The status of offensive lineman Brendon Labatte is also up in the air as the team gets ready for its first game of the season in Hamilton Thursday.

O’Day said they are still trying to figure out exactly what is ailing Labatte and that more tests are being done with the hope being it is not serious or long-term.  Labatte did not play against Winnipeg on Thursday with what is thought to be a lower-body injury.



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