By his own admission, Chris Jones released a “very good player'' when the Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach/GM gave Duron Carter his walking papers Sunday.
But it's unclear if Jones tried dealing Carter before cutting Saskatchewan's top receiver last season prior to the Riders (3-4) home game Sunday night versus the Calgary Stampeders (7-0), especially with four other teams - Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal and B.C. - now interested in Carter following his release.
That's not to suggest Jones could've commanded a first-round pick for the six-foot-five, 205-pound Carter. After all, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got a conditional '19 eighth-round selection last month from Montreal for Adarius Bowman, a four-time 1,000-yard receiver.
However, Carter is six years Bowman's junior and can play on both sides of the ball as well as return kicks.
Jones wouldn't offer specific reasons for Carter's departure. Jones said he and Carter met daily during the '17 season, and although that practice ended this year the two still huddled periodically.
Carter accumulated a team-leading 1,043 yards on 73 catches in 2017, his first with the Riders, and was tied with Naaman Roosevelt with eight receiving TDs. Carter also started at cornerback Oct. 20, recording a 43-yard interception return TD in a 30-7 win over Calgary.
Carter started five games on defence this season after cornerback Nick Marshall (wrist) was injured.
He had five catches for 59 yards and a TD in Saskatchewan's last game, a 26-19 loss to Edmonton on Aug. 2, and finished with eight receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown overall.
Carter is certainly no saint. There were reports an altercation with a teammate led to his release, something Jones wouldn't address directly.
In 2016, Carter was suspended for one game after bumping Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell during a game. He and fellow receiver Kenny Stafford were released later that season following an incident during practice with quarterback Rakeem Cato.
Still, the outspoken and gregarious Carter is popular with fans, having over 22,000 Twitter followers.
Last November before the East Division final in Toronto, Carter paid $351 to take 26 Riders supporters to a screening of the superhero film “Justice League.''
LULAY RETURNS: It's been a solid return for Travis Lulay.
The veteran quarterback is 2-2 since replacing Jonathon Jennings as B.C.'s starting quarterback. The Lions (3-4) are tied with Saskatchewan for last in the West Division, four points behind second-place Edmonton and Winnipeg (both 5-3).
Lulay leads B.C. into BMO Field on Saturday afternoon versus the Toronto Argonauts (2-5). The Lions are 1-1 versus East Division rivals but 0-4 on the road.
Toronto is 2-2 at home but 1-5 against West clubs.
Lulay, who turns 35 next month, has completed 88-of-141 passes (62.4 per cent) for 1,171 yards with five TDs and three interceptions in his four starts. That's impressive considering Lulay suffered a season-ending knee injury last year that had some wondering if his CFL career was over.
Lulay needed time at the start of the season to fully recover from the injury. But with B.C. last in the West at 1-2 and Jennings passing for just 487 yards with two TDs and three interceptions, the Lions turned to their 10-year veteran.
Lulay was the CFL's outstanding player in 2011 and capped that campaign off by being named the MVP of B.C.'s 34-23 Grey Cup win over Winnipeg. But he's been plagued by injuries since 2013, twice missing time with a shoulder issue and a torn MCL in 2016 before last year's season-ending knee ailment.
MANZIEL WATCH: “Johnny Football'' was better in his second CFL start.
Johnny Manziel was 16-of-26 passing for 168 yards in Montreal's 24-17 loss to Ottawa on Saturday night. The Redblacks clinched the win on William Powell's 10-yard TD run with 36 seconds to play.
Manziel's performance paled in comparison to Ottawa's Trevor Harris (44-of-54 passing for 487 yards, TD). However, the Montreal quarterback had no interceptions after throwing four in his CFL debut, a 50-11 loss to Hamilton on Aug. 3.
The former Heisman Trophy winner again showed his mobility, rushing for 36 yards on three carries.
But Montreal's offence managed 271 total yards while holding the ball for under 24 minutes. Harris and Co. rolled up a whopping 601 offensive yards despite committing six turnovers (four fumbles, an interception and on downs).
The Alouettes also allowed three sacks, boosting their league-high total to 27. Montreal remains last overall in offensive points (13.8 per game), net offence (251.4 yards), fewest interceptions thrown (nine), rushing yards (86.5) and quarterback rating (37.4) and second-last in passing (201.8 per game).
Montreal visits Edmonton (5-3) on Saturday.
BREAKOUT GAME: The Ottawa Redblacks got significant contributions from running back William Powell and receiver Greg Ellingson in their 24-17 win over Montreal.
Powell ran for 104 yards, his 10-yard TD romp with 36 seconds remaining snapping a 17-17 tie. It was Powell's third 100-yard game this season but first since a 138-yard performance in a 28-18 victory over the Als on July 6.
Powell ran for 149 yards on 51 carries in Ottawa's previous four games, an average of 37.25 yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry. He rushed for 355 yards on 55 carries in the Redblacks first three contests, averaging 118 yards per game and 6.5 yards per attempt.
Ellingson was Ottawa's leading receiver with 11 catches for 110 yards. It was his first 100-yard game since the Redblacks' season-opening 40-17 win over Saskatchewan on June 21 when he had eight catches for 104 yards.
Ellingson, a 1,000-yard receiver the past three seasons with Ottawa, cracked the 50-yard mark for the first time in six games.
THIS 'N THAT: Linebacker Adam Bighill had seven tackles, a sack and forced fumble in Winnipeg's 29-23 win over Edmonton. Bighill, in his first season with the Bombers, has a CFL-best 49 defensive tackles and anchors a defence that has 21 sacks and 11 interceptions, both league highs. But receiver Weston Dressler's streak of 120 straight games with at least one catch could be on hold after suffering a lower-body injury versus the Eskimos ... Hamilton's Courtney Stephen has lost his starting safety position to fellow Canadian Mike Daly but leads the CFL in special-teams tackles with 13 ... Saskatchewan's Charleston Hughes has a league-best nine sacks, four more than his nearest rivals.