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Friday, September 23, 2016

DURANT ADDRESSES CONTRACT, TIGER-CATS

Durant at the podium on Friday
The Saskatchewan Roughriders skipped their day-before walk-through on Friday due to the heavy rain saturating Mosaic Stadium in advance of Saturday's home game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7:30 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Network).

The team opted instead for additional meeting sessions indoors at the stadium.

Quarterback Darian Durant addressed his pending contract situation, given Rider Head Coach and GM Chris Jones' comments on Thursday that talks have begun.  Durant's current deal expires after the 2016 season.

"I don't know," Durant shrugged.  "As far as that goes, that's between the front office and my agent.  I'm trying to focus on football right now and try to get some wins.  That's the most important thing.  We're still in the playoff equation so to me that's the most important thing right now."

Durant was asked if he thinks a new deal can be agreed to before this season's over, or if negotiations can wait until the off-season.

"Something's been sent over to my agent (Dan Vertlieb), but we'll see how it goes," Durant continued.  "My focus is Hamilton, and football right now, and if I get a second to think about it then so be it.  But I'm just focused on Hamilton right now."

I asked Durant if he's ever envisioned himself in another CFL team's uniform.

"No I haven't actually," Durant admitted.  "This is all I know.  I just haven't had a chance to wrap my brain around being somewhere else.  Of course that time is approaching and we'll see how it goes.  If I (play) well and do what I'm supposed to do, everything will work itself out."

Chris Jones was asked how this negotiation will go with regards to timing.

"We're just gonna progress as Darian wants to progress," Jones stated.  "If it gets done prior to the season ending, that'd be great.  If not, if he doesn't feel comfortable with it, then we won't.  That's kind of how we're approaching it.  Again, he knows that we want him here, he knows that he's a staple in this organization, and that's the direction we're heading."

It won't take many more losses for the Roughriders to be eliminated from playoff contention so Jones was asked if he'll audition other quarterbacks the rest of the way if the season is indeed lost.

"If we are (eliminated), we've already had these talks," Jones revealed.  "If we are unfortunately mathematically eliminated, then there will be a lot of guys that play."

On Friday morning the Roughriders announced their roster for Saturday's game and it features only two changes.  Defensive end Eric Norwood and linebacker Dillon Grondin come on while returner Kendial Lawrence and linebacker Marvin Golding come off.  For Norwood, it'll be the Rider debut for the former Ticats star rush end.

RP
@rodpedersen

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