ON KEITH PRICE
JM: What Keith wants to do is have the option to see where the best decision for him will be. The discussions that we've had about Keith coming to our minicamp in Florida is that the ball is kind of in both of our courts to decide that. Closer to the event, that's when we'll make that decision. That leaves him open to discussions of possibly playing in that spring league, or discussions possibly on does he want to go throw for another CFL team to gauge of what they think of him?
We want to lay hands on as many of these guys as possible, see them face-to-face, with our own coaches and sometimes how that's received by a player. At first I think it was a little more shocking like, "Hey don't you know who I am?" type thing and now it's progressed more towards our side of the picture of him and his agent seeing it has nothing to do with what he's done to date, or nothing to do with taking it the wrong way. Our staff wants to see him prior to signing him so that we're not investing in him for the wrong reasons and he's not coming to camp with the wrong expectations. If he's the right fit, he'd be the guy. If he's not the right guy, at least he's not being signed and then released sometime in April.
ON RELEASING OR NOT SIGNING VETERANS THIS WINTER
JM: Number one, first and foremost, with every one of these guys, we addressed them directly where they stood with us, what our plan would be, how they could return if there's an interest in returning, and it's a two-way street. To want to accept what we're saying, things could have gone one direction. Clearly each one of these guys felt like there was a different opportunity available to them, and to not want to re-negotiate with us, to not listen and look at other options on how they could return. Each found an option that could be equal or better that what he spoke about.
With Chris Getzlaf, he had an off-season roster bonus that we gave him. We continued to process and look at where he's at from a health perspective and our decision was that we had to make sure our starting Canadian ratio players were 100% ready to compete come Day 1 of training camp. And my opinion, along with our staff, was that he was going to need time throughout the whole off-season to get to where he's 100%. We're all hopeful that occurs because he's a good player to have in our league and has had an amazing career to date.
Let's not forget there was a time and place where he was something else other than a Rider (in Hamilton in 2007). And now there's a time and place where he's moving on to be something else other than a Rider. I think fans would be far less happy to come up with a formula of building a roster to say we hadn't looked at the medical stuff and true evaluation of where he's at as a player and then cut short during training camp at that position because it'll take some extra time to get to 100%. There's no time to make those second guesses later on. You can't be fine with going to training camp and saying 'We were hoping he'd be 100%' and be happy because the fans wanted Getzlaf back in a uniform. If he isn't, then say 'Well I hope everybody gives us a break because we signed a fan favourite'. You and I all know that's not gonna be how business works. You can't run a season off your heart. You have to run it by what's in front of you.
We wish Chris nothing but the best. He's had a tremendous career with Saskatchewan but at this time and place, going after him would've meant sacrificing someone else at a Canadian ratio position that was 100% healthy. A lot of turning this team around will be through competition in training camp.