The Saskatchewan Roughriders served notice that perhaps an aerial attack is going to be one of the key parts of their offensive game plan in the 2013 CFL Season.
The Riders made a deal with the BC Lions this week that will bring one of the CFL's most talented and popular players to Saskatchewan for the 2013 (and maybe 2014) season, as Geroy Simon, feeling that he still has something to contribute in a premier role moved on to the Riders.
The move appears rather one sided for the Riders, one of the league's most storied players for a talent unproven (reportedly Justin Harper ex of the Baltimore Ravens practice roster) and a third round pick in the 2014 Canadian college draft, but in the cold world of professional football it was a business decision for the most part for the Lions.
Not an easy one we imagine, what with Wally Buono attending the press conference wake for the departing Simon, indicative of the respect that the two have for each other, even if they couldn't come to an agreement on dollar figures for a final contract.
For Buono, it fits a pattern, he is constantly seeking ways to replenish the talent banks, bringing in young players, easing them into the line up and giving them a shot when the time arrives. Sometimes that means bidding farewell to the hard working and the popular.
Football after all is a business, and in the CFL one where the bottom line is a most important benchmark and a business that sometimes leaves the emotions on the field when it comes time to ease a player into a lesser role.
Though, in the case of Geroy Simon, probably that has never been a harder football decision to make. Not so much on the football side of the equation, but on the attachment part of it that fans invest in their players.
Simon has been the face, heart and soul of the Lions for twelve years, even as he heads for Saskatchewan he still to a fashion identifies himself as a BC Lion, such was the impact he had on the province and it on him.
In the farewell tour part of his career, rather than take on a reduced role (and reduced salary) in BC, he instead will showcase the Superman move at Mosaic Field, joining a team that has designs on not only hosting the 2013 Grey Cup, but clearly making a case of late that they intend to try to win the thing at home.
Simon will, if he remains healthy (another concern that Buono may have had moving into 2013) provide the Riders with yet another offensive threat, providing for a range of options for the new offensive coordinator George Cortez to fit together as he takes the helm of the Riders offence.
Geroy joins the already talented Rider receiving corps of Dressler, Bagg and Getzlaf, making 2013 a challenging year we imagine for defensive backs.
Time as they say marches on, though, as it does, when the clock finally strikes midnight and Geroy calls it a day, we suspect he'll be back in BC quickly, a place in the ring of honour awaits him and when he goes into the CFL Hall of Fame, as he surely will one day, it will be for his days as a BC Lion. As it should be.
In a perfect world, a player retires to the accolades of the team he excelled with, a celebration of shared time and achievement, that celebration in Vancouver will have to be deferred a few years it seems.
Until then, Superman's cape hangs in Saskatchewan, where some of the league's most passionate fans will quickly learn just how special Simon is to a team, a league and a community.
Vancouver Province-- Geroy Simon traded to Roughriders
Vancouver Province-- Geroy Simon's departure wrenching but it may be for the best
Vancouver Province-- Emotionally, I'm still a B. C. Lion ...
Vancouver Sun-- Geroy Simon, Lions' 'Superman,' traded to Roughriders
Vancouver Sun-- Dan Dorazio has seen most of Geroy Simon's moves
Vancouver Sun-- It was time for Geroy Simon to move on
Vancouver Sun-- Lions GM Wally Buono insists he 'got something' for Geroy Simon
Regina Leader Post-- Geroy Simon deal welcomed by Riders
Regina Leader Post-- Simon swap was simply super
Regina Leader Post-- Lions trade Geroy Simon to Riders
Regina Leader Post-- Taman, Chamblin talk about Simon trade
Winnipeg Free Press-- Lions ship aging Simon to Roughriders
Canoe Sports-- Roughriders acquire Geroy Simon from Lions
Canoe Sports-- Geroy Simon and Brendan Taman together again on Roughriders
TSN-- Lions trade Simon to Roughriders for Harper, Third round pick
CBC-- Lions send veteran Geroy Simon to Roughriders
CFL.ca-- Riders pass-catchers will look for full season together