Len Rhodes interview with Terry Jones. Edmonton Sun. Link Below.
“What hasn’t come out is the fact I delayed it five days. I was at the CFL meetings in Las Vegas. Eric wanted to pull the trigger immediately. Eric said he was the GM and had never been questioned and if you have hired somebody with his reputation and history of successes, you let him do the job. Kavis remained very vocal not to do the trade. But Eric said ‘I will be responsible and hold myself responsible.’ ?
He admitted that his repeated insistence that the reason for firing Tillman was strictly “because as leader of the Edmonton Eskimos, Eric didn’t fit my vision of the future? didn’t come close to covering it.
“The truth is that there were a series of distractions all year long,? said Rhodes, admitting what he avoided at the press conference. Things had become so un-Eskimo-like on the football ops floor that it got insane with the amount of work the head coach was having to do, dealing with duties which were supposed to be handled by the general manager.
“There was a sloppiness in registering players all year long, which was causing problems with the league from week to week until the league, to finally make the point, fined us $1,000.?
He said it didn’t just happen the once. It happened again and again.
“Because we were the Edmonton Eskimos and historically have set an example, they didn’t make an issue out of it, out of respect for the club. When they finally fined us, we could hardly make a case we didn’t deserve it.?
The Eskimos had several people leave the organization during the season and Rhodes said that one of them, Ryan Wagner, who was involved with most of the paperwork dealings with the league office, listed “the environment under Eric as the reason he left.?
Rhodes said a big factor in the decision was that Tillman, after he was given the job, didn’t move to Edmonton but remained in Regina, where he was previously the general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“Eric and I had numerous conversations on the topic of relocating and how important that is on a community-owned team. You need the general manager to be living in Edmonton and actually participating in the community. He said he was not comfortable with doing that. We agreed to review it at the end of the season.?
Rhodes also said Tillman working out of his office in his home in Regina or in Mississippi was only part of it.
“It was Eric’s attendance at road games, too. He only went to one road game all year, the one here in Toronto. When you lose five in a row, like we did this year, you want your general manager to be there for your coach.
“We lost confidence in Eric. The breaking point for me, personally, was when he traded our first-round draft choice for kicker Brody McKnight in the middle of the night, without any consultation whatsoever. I found out in the morning when I opened my e-mail.?[url=http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/11/24/edmonton-eskimos-president-and-ceo-len-rhodes-opens-up-in-exclusive-terry-jones-interview]http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/11/24/e ... -interview[/url]