He’s been doing it for years, but cutting players never gets any easier for Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones.
To some, this may come as a surprise, given he’s the man that cut fan favourites Weston Dressler and John Chick, but Jones said he forms attachments to the men that come to play for him.
“You get close to the players and you love them, you coach them. I treat them like I would my son. I’m hard on them, I expect the best of them every single day,” Jones said. “When you have to release one, a lot of these guys, they don’t know what’s next.”
Still, by Saturday night, Jones will have to release more than 20 players who gave their hearts and souls in camp. Most veterans have already solidified their spots on the team, but a few names you know could end up on the chopping block.
“We’ve got a good roster and there’s some good players we’re going to have to put on the street,” he said. “And then there’s probably a veteran or two that we have to release and it’s never easy when you’ve been around someone who’s worked hard for you.”
That means Friday’s game is a vital last chance for players to show their coaches and the rest of the football operation staff they can contribute to the football team.
Brandon Bridge will be looking to repeat his success from last week, while Bryan Bennett is aiming to bounce back from his shaky Rider debut.
Meanwhile, the Riders’ newest addition at quarterback is happy he’ll get more time on the field.
“It’s exciting, just to keep having fun and just go out and do my job and learn from guys like (Kevin Glenn) and Bryan and Bridges. That’s my thing, just go out and show what I can do,” Marquise Williams said.
Kick off against the B.C. Lions is at 8 p.m. Friday on TSN.
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