The Saskatchewan Roughriders released import running back Corey Holmes on Tuesday.
Holmes re-joined the Riders this past season after a three-player trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
''Given our great affection for Corey, and all he means to our province, this is a very difficult move for all of us,'' said Roughriders general manager Eric Tillman in a statement. ''Corey Holmes is the epitome of class, and, if his Rider playing days are over, he will go down as one of the all-time gentlemen to ever wear green and white.''
''Removing emotion from the equation, however, this was a step we had to take. With the re-signing of Wes Cates, if Corey were to come back, his role would be that of a complimentary back and special teams player. That, combined with his exceptional character, clearly does have high value, but, in a cap era, we simply can't afford to pay well over six figures to a non-starting player."
Holmes dressed in nine regular season games this season where he picked up 73 rushing yards, 135 receiving yards, 584 kickoff return yards and 411 punt return yards. He also dressed in both playoff games and the Grey Cup Championship game in Toronto.
''As I told Corey today, the door is certainly open for him to come back in 2008,'' Tillman added. ''But, if he chooses to go elsewhere for financial reasons or for any other reasons of his own choosing, he will always have a unique and special place in Saskatchewan history. And, as such, we are so grateful we were able to acquire him last fall and have him as a significant part of our Grey Cup championship team. It's an honour Corey richly deserved."
Holmes is the Riders all-time leader in kickoff return yards with 3,493 and punt return yards with 3,296.