Riders release Szarka; Rob Bagg hurt

From CFL.ca:

Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Rob Bagg has re-injured his knee during off-season training.

He was expected to undergo surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Wednesday. The 26-year-old will be added to the nine-game injured list at the start of the CFL season.

Bagg, a six-foot, 190-pound native of Kingston, Ont., had three touchdowns and 688 receiving yards with the Riders last season.

"This is obviously very disappointing news for Rob and for the club," Saskatchewan general manager Brendan Taman said in a release.

"Rob is a consummate pro and is a leader in our locker-room. While it will be tough for Rob and the entire team to lose him on the field, we look forward to having his positive attitude and influence in the locker-room throughout the year."

Bagg had previously torn the ACL during a game against Calgary in October. He missed the final three games of the season and the Riders' playoff run.

Also Wednesday, the Riders released veteran fullback Chris Szarka. He spent the last 14 seasons with the team.

Szarka, 36, had 439 carries for 1,723 yards and 33 rushing touchdowns over his career for the Riders. He also had 98 receptions for 1,308 yards and five touchdowns.


Feel sorry for Rob Bagg. That could be a career ender. Pretty classless of the Riders to release Szarka 3 days before TC starts. Apparently they asked him to retire and he refused.

Talk about bad luck. Definitely sucks for Rob Bagg.

Also kind of a shame that Szarka won’t get to retire as a Rider. And I agree that it’s kind of crappy releasing a guy this late. I’m curious how long ago they asked him to retire…

First the Riders lose Fantuz and now Bagg. That has to affect not only their offence but their N/I ratio as well.

...I faintly heard a 'noooooooooooooooo'....

...must've been cflisthebest wailing from Edmonton...

According to what I read at RiderFans, Szarka told a local radio station that he was asked to retire Friday of last week.

i wonder if maybe Toronto or someonw will invite him to camp. never hurts to have a vetern non-import to push the grade a little. i thought he had an ok season last year. seems very un-rider like to force a fan favorite out like that. you think they woulda tried to trade him or something. does he have to clear waivers now?

Every player who is released has to clear waivers from what I understand.

most likely he will clear then, and someone could pick him up cheaper then his current contract. dont like that they waited till now to release him. he might not have had a clue.

...pretty doubtful he's going anywhere, his full-time gig is as a Regina City Councillor

Tell me that's a joke... :expressionless:

Here's a copy of a post made by Szarka33 at RiderFans:

Szarka tells News Talk Radio he was asked to retire on Friday of last week by General Manager Brendan Taman but thought it was the team's announcement to make, "I feel there is a sense of accountability in a decision that they made and they need to be held accountable for that decision. I felt like I would be disappointing my teammates by coming in there and telling my teammates, a week before training camp, that I was retiring."

That's dumb. :thdn:

And everyone makes Obie out to be a tool huh...Taman stole the show with this move.

Sounds harsh however lets look at it from the Rider perspective.

You have Szarka who they feel is done. The team feels it needs to move on. The team has a responsibity to continue to improve. You go to him and say “Well Chris. We think the time has come. We don’t feel you are going to make the squad this year. its time to retire.” He says no. What do you do now? Just let him decide to play for as long as he wants? Is he an untouchable?
You cant force him to retire gracefully. The next option if hes not going to make the team is to release him. no?

...or let training camp decide it. I don't see what harm would've befallen the Riders to let the spirit of competition decide.


And Szarka felt that retiring less than a week before TC starts was not retiring gracefully rather it was turning his back on his teammate. Sounds like if they had asked him to retire a month or two ago he would have considered it.

They should have asked him right after the Draft, which is when they traded for Graeme Bell and Drafted Kyle Exume. That was slightly less than a month ago. 2 months ago they did not have a surplus of FB's.
It is just the business side of Football rearing it's ugly head again. It is too bad things like this have to happen, but make no mistake they always do.

he was the best full back in the league bar none. I might just retire my #33 Szarka Jersey now. very sad to see him go