Realty One

Saturday, January 21, 2017


MONTREAL - Darian Durant wants to put Saskatchewan behind him and get started on his new role as quarterback of the Montreal Alouettes.

Durant donned his new Alouettes jersey with his old number four for the first time at a news conference on Friday, a day after inking a three-year contract reportedly worth $1.2 million.

"I'll do everything in my power to make sure we get back to winning ways, and that's not just the playoffs,'' said Durant. "It's all about Grey Cups.

"That's my focus. And starting from this day, 100 per cent of my time and energy will go into that.''

The 34-year-old Durant did not want to talk about Saskatchewan, where he spent the first 11 years of his career and where he led the Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory on home turf in 2013.

A potential free agent in February, Riders coach and general manager Chris Jones traded his rights to the Alouettes on Jan. 13 after failing to reach agreement on a new contract. The move left Saskatchewan without a proven starting quarterback, but Jones didn't want to commit to a long term deal at top salary to an aging quarterback who has had injury trouble the last three seasons.

When asked why Saskatchewan let him go, Durant said: "I have no idea. I think everything I showed and did showed that I wanted to finish my career there.

"I guess it comes down to want. This organization wanted me here, wanted me to lead and be a part of everything going forward, and they wanted to go in a different direction over in Saskatchewan. I don't want to spend much more time talking about Saskatchewan. I'm an Alouette now. I'm very happy to be one. I had a great time in Saskatchewan the last 11 years but it's time to turn the page on that chapter and get started here.''
Durant did, however, take the opportunity to fire a few potshots at Jones on 620 CKRM's SportsCage Friday afternoon.

“Some things were said about me personally that were uncalled for,” Durant said during his only live interview in Saskatchewan after the trade. “To blame all the losses or wins if you want on one guy was the last straw."

"I guess average quarterbacks can't play for average coaches," Durant spat, referring to Jones' remarks in the Leader Post in mid-November that the quarterback had been "moderately successful" during his time in Regina.

The Alouettes first-year GM Kavis Reed felt Durant's injuries were an acceptable risk in order to bring a proven veteran into a position that has seen a dozen quarterbacks take snaps since the CFL's all-time passing leader and current Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Anthony Calvillo retired after the 2013 season.

Reed said giving Durant a three-year deal allows time to develop younger pivots like Vernon Adams, who started and won the final three games of the Alouettes' otherwise bleak 2016 campaign.

"It was an important number simply because we wanted stability and also enough time for us to make certain that we have the data to see whether the guys behind him are ready,'' said Reed. "We feel confident that Darian will be here for the long term and confident that we will enjoy some success with him.

"It's a tremendous step for the organization.''

Durant, who has missed at least two games per year since 2010, does not feel he has become injury prone but he recognizes the importance of having a strong backup. And Adams has stated his intention to try to keep the starting job despite Durant's arrival.

"I've been injured in the past and I know that it takes more than one good quarterback to win a championship so I'm here to lend a helping hand to whoever the guys are behind me,'' said Durant. 

"It'll take all of us to get the job done.

"It's about winning as a team. It's not going to be just about me.''

But there will be expectations from fans who have seen the once-powerful Alouettes finish out of the playoffs two years in a row.

"I can just come in and be the leader that I've always been,'' he said. "When you put myself in with veterans like S.J. (Green) and Nik Lewis and especially that defensive core, I'm just a piece of the puzzle.''

Reed got to know Durant when he served as an assistant coach in Regina in 2009. Coach Jacques Chapdelaine worked with him as the Riders' offensive co-ordinator in 2015.

Durant described a Chapdelaine offence as "kind of like basketball on grass.

"He gives you many options across the field and if I pick and chose right and deliver the ball with accuracy, then we can be something to be reckoned with.''

While he regrets missing out on the opening of a new stadium in Regina this season, he looks forward to playing in the close confines of Percival Molson Stadium, which the Alouettes hope will be full again with a veteran quarterback in place.

"A lot of games are lost by the visiting team coming into this place,'' he said. "So my plan is to give the fans something to cheer about, put some points on the board. That helps the defence out and leads to wins.''

(With files from The Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Ya! And lets put him behind us! Has this Blog become the voice of Darian and the Alouettes? Its over so lets move on to new business. This Durant whining is getting a little tired!

John Knight said...

Better get his legs in good shape because he will need them with their poor offensive line. also bounced passes will not endear him to the Montreal fans. He will be backup by mid season

Anonymous said...

I note that Durant aired the dirty laundry between him and Jones in public. Too bad this had to happen this way, but kinda not classy from Durant, as the offensive stats were not outstanding last year. and lets face it, Darian was not the Darian of old in 2016. I guess everyone can finger point, lousy defense, lineup changes, etc, etc, but as Gramps Ken Miller used to say its a performance based game, and he didnt perform for whatever reasons. i do wish Darian luck and congrats on getting a new lease on life and contract in Montreal, but the airing the dirty laundry in public was not classy.

This Guy said...

The comments published in the leader post show just the type of guy Jones is. Regardless if your a rider fan that wanted Durant or not, jones comes off as a complete asshat with an ego bigger than the team

Anonymous said...

Greedy guy didn't even have the respect to at least address the media with a bonjour, wee? Correction - oui.


w said...

Like Trump, Jones will be gone long before their best before dates and memories of the nightmares will fade.

Anonymous said...

Waaaa-rain Durant

Anonymous said...

Boo on the Riders!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Darian, you may win three Grey Cups before the Riders make the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Durant was here for eleven years. Can we not give him the respect that he deserves? Why is it that as soon as a player leaves Saskatchewan, some fans immediately criticize him and demonize him. Darian gave us some very good years. I, for one, still have a great deal of respect for Darian Durant and wish him well in Montreal. Why can't we just wait and see how his career plays out there? Everyone's predictions for Durant are getting a little tired. I'm sure a lot of us were interested in hearing Durant speak today. I am tired of hearing Rider fans be completely classless and happily uninformed. In truth it is a certain class of Rider fans that I am finding completely disgusting.

Anonymous said...

besides my mom the only I was the only Durant supporter I knew. Defended him at every all of the sudden people miss him?

But yes he has been hurt a lot lately...and I can understand not wanting to guarantee 400-450K. You pay that much you don't have a lot left to pay people to block or a defence to stop.

I will always be a rider fan and if the QB is not that great at the beginning we can all remember a few QB;s that weren't great at the start of their career...Durant and Cavillo come to mind.

Go riders and I can't wait for the 2017 season. I have a feeling we will all be pleasantly surprised.


Anonymous said...

Murray McCormick has a good write-up in the Leader Post.
It tells what Darian Durant thinks of Jones for pining a 5-13 season on him with a try-out offense all season long while the Jones coached defense was the worst in the league.
Soon, the entire province will agree and the empty seats will be numerous.
I'm not sure telethons will work in the age of cell phones.

Sad but true.

Clay said...

All Durant did by making the comments about Coaches is fire up the Riders Defense .
I cannot wait until Riders play Montreal.
Durant better work on his running speed, because the boys on Riders D WILL BE ALL OVER HIM.
I certainly would not be in DD'S shoes.
For God's sake folks move on.
This is a new era & will be a good one.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that Durant told his side of the story. What is classless and gutless is Jones not admitting that he never wanted Durant here. Instead he totally disrespected Durant, put the blame for everything on Durant's shoulders until Darian could no longer possibly play for Jones. At the same time, Jones played the fans for suckers and a lot have fallen for it, blindly believing everything the mighty Chris Jones tells them. In order for me to put any credence in Jones' story, he would have had to take at least part of the blame for last year's dismal season. He is after all, the coach, the GM, and VP of football operations; not to mention the defensive coordinator. But apparently, totally blameless for last season's gong show and the dumpster fire that this team has become. I have never seen such a pathetic display of leadership from a coach and GM.

Keith Pottruff said...

DD is angry and bitter at Jones. He's earned the right to his opinion. On the other hand he could have taken the offer and put in a year for the ages too in order to make a statement that he is the guy.

Instead he waited for free agency or a trade and cashed in on his name and past with Montreal for a similar number. Again nothing wrong with that. Football isn't a long term career unless your name is Damon Allen or Paul McCallum. Jones also needs to find the guys who will buy into his system. Obviously DD wasn't the guy to do it.

This won't be the end of the world. A new starter will emerge and we will be ok. I happen to remember in 2008 a plucky third stringer from North Carolina making an impact once he got a shot after #4 was traded to the Argos...

Randolph Charles said...

Personally I will miss Darian but as Casey Stengel (I think) said, referring to one of his players, "we lost with him, we can lose without him."

Darian was an electrifying player in the past, the catalyst of an exciting, mostly Canadian, offense. Sadly, the power plant had a few brown outs the last couple of years, and the cast changed around him.

I hope Darian does well in Montreal, but we need something else to keep up with the Jennings' and BLM's' of the west division. In my mind, that answer is one James Franklin. His upside and untapped potential would be something to behold, as he brings the team out of the cesspool of bottom tier finishes, and brings fans out of their seats in the new Mosaic.

Anonymous said...

Go Alouettes and go Bombers!!!

Anonymous said...

The NFL website reports that Johnny Manziel is now sober and looking for a team that will give him a chance to redeem himself. Perhaps the Riders could be that team ...

Anonymous said...

Jones will be gone around Labour Day.

Anonymous said...

Typical riders fans throwing another former rider great under the bus because he didnt get the money he soooo deserved here .Had he signed here all these cheap shots would not happen. Good Luck in Montreal Darian your an amazing person who served the riders proud ,I hope you get a cup in Montreal.This is ALL Jones fault

John Knight said...

What a bunch of idiots that comment on here. Jones WILL NOT be gone until at least the end of his present contract and for people to blame Jones for not accepting responsibility did not listen to his year end statement where he gave himself an F. In the meantime Durant did not accept any responsibility for the bounced passes and overall play in most of his games last year. He will be replaced easily and Durant will Fail in Montreal

Anonymous said...

Jones is doing what a man in charge should do. Sit down, look at the charts on each player, factor in the their age and salary and offer them a contract. Or trade them before they lose all their value. It's low, it's mean, it's being very harsh on people who have been part of the team. It is called being the boss and it happens to people all over the world in every type of job. You are only good enough until you are not. Sorry Darian, we wish you all the best but you have made your choice and so have we. Leave the hurt feelings out of it and move on. You deserve to be happy not bitter.

Handy Andy said...

Wow, lots of sour grapes from DD. He has been classy until this. If he REALLY wanted to finish his career as a Rider, he could have signed for less money. Ultimately he wanted the highest salary.

I am a DD fan, but always a Rider fan first. The Riders are on the way up, but Montreal is an old team.

Jones will not be fired this year. The Riders are still paying Corey and Brendan for one more year.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for someone to accurately show me where Jones threw Durant under the bus.

Anonymous said...

John Knight;

Take your green glasses off.

Jim Day

Anonymous said...

If a quarterback receives the highest percent of the salary cap he must take the highest percent of the blame along with the highest percent of credit. Darian was always very appreciative of the team and the fans in victory and admitted as a team they all had to be better in defeats. I believe a lot of ego on both sides is behind this change but in the end the man hired to turn our team around has a huge task and we have to give him a chance to do his job. One year didn't do it but we saw some good things as the season progressed. It would be a huge mistake to push him out of Saskatchewan without a decent amount of time to work with. You don't have to like the man, you don't have to agree with the man, but you do have to let him do his job. It's his job to keep or lose. There are people in place to evaluate him and he himself admitted he scored an F last year. If he makes it up to a C this year we need to stay the course. If he scores another F, then all of Saskatchewan has the right to demand change.

Anonymous said...

Congrats DD on getting the money you wanted,wishing you all the best.

The Riders QB situation,please lets not sign any of the QB's kicking around in their CFL twilight years.With better Oline coaching,first string and player depth at Oline this is the important cog in this green machine.Even Brady from the Pats couldn't help us without this being improved

Anonymous said...

1.2 million over three years to play a game outside and have winters off. Well done Darian!

Anonymous said...

DD told it exactly like it went down, and spoke to Jones (lack of) character, which is what most of the fans that are upset, are upset about. DD deserved better. If he wasnt Jones guy - then fine, but handle that situation with some class. Rookie GM, bush league move by Jones.

Yes, its a business, but any successful business knows that how you treat people matters.

I will retain my season tickets, because I love the Riders and they are bigger than Chris Jones, but until he changes my mind - I do not support Chris Jones.

Anonymous said...

Act like a pro DD. You have become an average QB. Jones challenged you to be better with an incentive based contract based on performance and you wanted more based on past glories. Sorry, doesn't work that way. You got your money, be happy and I hope you have a great remainder of your career. Time to move on, next man up.

Anonymous said...

I've always been a big Durant fan, but the CFL salary cap means you can only have so many high contracts and it's hard to build a team when a few players make up a high percentage of your salary cap. Sure the QB is important but not the whole team. I think Montreal may have trouble building for a long term future, example signing Adams when the time comes. We need to build a team here not use our salary cap for a couple of players, a have lesser talent on the rest of the team because of it.

John Knight said...

Jim Day, yes I have green glasses but also a good set of eyes

Anonymous said...

I saw a Rider flag in Glen Elm today at half-mast. I wonder if this is one of many around the province this week.

Anonymous said...

So teams like Edmonton, Calgary for example are dumb for paying Reilly and Mitchell big money. Guess you like Qb's like Willy and Adams...enjoy always watching regular season games only then. Your team can only be as good as your Qb so if he sucks your whole team will look the same as you won't have many WI s in your will find out this season once again unless you trade for a good vet.

Anonymous said...

Darian just pulled off the biggest CFL bank heist since Flutie

Anonymous said...

Wrong. The offet Jones made to DD was lowballing him. Also the comments Jones made in the media were either stupid, or intended to sabotage the negotiation.

This is all VERY simple. Jones didnt want to keep DD around. But instead of being upfront about that, he disrespected him to the point DD wouldny stay.

Anonymous said...

Jones is entitled to an opinion, in fact it is his job to have an opinion and act on it.
He could have not signed DD or traded DD then thanked him for his services.
Instead he chose to publicly disrespect a man that took the Riders to three Grey Cup games.
Whatever backlash Jones gets he deserves and I for one can't wait for the day he's gone.


Anonymous said...

How true

Anonymous said...

Who cares, the guy will be injured for whole season game one as usual.

Martin said...

I am happy that Darian got signed, still wish it was Rider green though. Does anyone know what dollar figures were tossed around by the Riders? I really wasn't happy to find out that Shawn Lemon got a contract equal to John Chick's old contract that he got dropped for. I will be pissed if the Rider brass waste this 2017 season testing out many different young QB's, better have a good training camp!!!