Sunday, 12 August 2018

’Riders release of Carter part of Belichick effect on Sports

The Roughriders released Duron Carter on Saturday night.
    If you live in Saskatchewan, there is a good chance you were consumed by some degree with the news the CFL’s Roughriders released Duron Carter over the weekend.
    Late Saturday night while the Montreal Alouettes were in Ottawa falling 24-17 to the host Redblacks, social media went haywire with the news that the Roughriders, who were on a bye week, released Carter. The Roughriders confirmed the move with a note on the club’s website that night while the CFL game in Ottawa was still going on.
    Carter had been playing both receiver and defensive back for the Roughriders this season.
    It was one of those moves that wasn’t a surprise, but it did catch you off guard. The Roughriders (3-4) aren’t due to return to game action until Aug. 19 at 5 p.m., when they host the Calgary Stampeders (7-0) at Mosaic Stadium.
    It wasn’t a surprise from the standpoint that it feels like teams at all levels of sports these days try to mirror how the NFL’s New England Patriots and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick operate. Basically, what that means is information is to be guarded tightly by the secret society of that team.
Duron Carter makes a circus TD catch against Toronto last season.
    In media gatherings, you expect a team official to go in front of a podium and say in a monotone voice, “In order to have success, we must be better on offence, defence and special teams.”
    You repeat that answer to any question that is fired your way.
    A lot of teams to varying degree these days follow the Belichick effect.
    Carter, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has never been shy when it comes to speaking his mind since he broke into the CFL in 2013 with the Montreal Alouettes. The 27-year-old comes off as being genuine when it comes to saying what he things and believes.
    That alone will get you cut from a number of sports teams these days despite the fact it has brought Carter a lot of respect in many circles.
    On Sunday morning, Carter sent out a tweet saying he received calls from teammates on Saturday asking if he was still with the Roughriders. Carter said he sent a text message asking why he was being asked these questions to Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones.
Carter said Jones called and said the receiver was being released.
    Jones spoke to the media about the move during a press conference held Sunday morning in Regina.
Duron Carter defends a pass as a DB this season.
    “Over the break, we are always evaluating our roster, our team and the way we do things, processes and coaching (and) things that we do at practice,” said Jones. “Upon that evaluation again made the decision that we were going to go in a different direction from Duron.”
    His answer mirrored a scene that comes from the 2011 baseball drama movie “Moneyball” based around the Oakland Athletics’ 2002 MLB season. In the one scene in the movie, Athletics general manager Billy Beane talks to fictional assistant general manager Peter Brand about how you tell players they have been released or traded.
    During that scene, Beane said you inform the player that the team was “going in a different direction” and nothing more needed to be said. Due to the fact players moves are made frequently in sports, this tactic is used to avoid having a discussion to give reasons why a player was let go in order to not get too bogged down with lengthy conversations.
    This tactic from the movie Moneyball is used often in professional sports.
    Jones was asked for a specific reason for Carter’s release during the press conference. He responded with an answer that was a mix from what you would see from Belichick and the movie Moneyball.
    “We’re not going to go into any kind of specifics or anything like that,” said Jones. “We’re not here to put a guy on trial or anything like that.
    “We released a very good player. He is going to land on his feet. We decided to go in a different direction for our football team.”
Duron Carter makes a catch against the Argonauts last season.
    Jones did say the decision to release Carter had nothing to do with the fact the sideline boss worked out 44-year-old Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens last week.
    Like anything that has to do with the Roughriders, interpretation of what went down is being spun in various directions by fans.
    Carter, who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 205 pounds, has had his share of well-documented antics during his CFL career including to getting into a fight with a practice roster player in October of last year. He is also an extremely talented football player.
    Last season in his first full campaign with the Roughriders, he hauled in 73 passes for 1,043 yards and scored eight touchdowns to be named a CFL all-star. On defence, he returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown in a 30-7 victory over the Stampeders in Calgary on Oct. 20, 2017.
    This season, Carter has seen more limited time on offence catching eight passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. He started five games at cornerback and returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown in a 40-17 loss to the Redblacks in Ottawa on June 21.
Duron Carter celebrates a TD catch last season.
    On the field, Carter did everything that was asked of him, and he returned kicks on occasion last season.
    During his time in Saskatchewan, Carter became a fan favourite for the Roughriders faithful. Carter acknowledged in a tweet on Saturday he loved the fans and his time in Saskatchewan was the most fun he has had in a long time.
    The majority of the fan responses to Carter on social media were those that wished him luck in the future. Carter embraced being in Saskatchewan and played hard, and that won him a lot of fans in Rider Nation. He was particularly awesome with little kids.
    There doesn’t appear to be any bad will between Carter and Jones when you view their statements over the last couple of days, so that has to be considered a positive sign.
    For my two cents, I do not see Carter as a diva receiver in the image of Owens and former NFL star veteran Chad Johnson. In the few encounters I have had with Carter, I see him as a good guy, but a different cat.
    I see him more as a person that gets his fun trolling on Twitter, playing video games and watching science fiction movies. I could never see him out at a nightclub or a fancy hotel partying it up like how former NFL star receiver Michael Irvin did in his heyday with the Dallas Cowboys in the early and middle 1990s.
    I think Carter is a high-maintenance player, and Jones said he had daily meetings with Carter during the 2017 season which didn’t happen this season. Those meetings included talking about other subjects besides football. It seems like the coaches didn’t want to put any more energy into the high-maintenance aspect of Carter.
Duron Carter always interacted well with young fans.
    In June, Carter pleaded guilty to drug possession after getting caught with marijuana-laced chocolate chip cookies at the Winnipeg airport, and he received an absolute discharge as well. Another charge of marijuana possession in Saskatoon is still before the courts.
    Those developments don’t bother me, because I believe marijuana should be legal. I also came across a situation where it led me to believe marijuana could possibly be used to treat cancer and more research needs to be done on that front, but I will save my views and debate that for another day unless someone asks me person to person out in public.
    It has been reported by multiple sources that the Alouettes, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions have shown interest in Carter. Hopefully, he will find a new football home sooner than later.
    As for the Roughriders, their offence has been waffling all season. Part of that is due to the fact starting quarterback Zach Collaros missed time due to injury.
    Saskatchewan has shaken the deck a bit on that side of the ball too. Besides Carter’s departure, Bakari Grant, Rob Bagg and Nic Demski were all regular receivers with the Roughriders last season, and they moved the ball quite well in that campaign.
Duron Carter was always popular with the fans in “Rider Nation.”
    The steady influence of veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn from last season is missing too. Glenn is the backup quarterback with the Edmonton Eskimos this season. Cameron Marshall, who was a regular running back last season, is no longer with the Roughriders as well.
    For the present, Carter’s release has been made. Now, Carter and the Roughriders will go their separate ways in search of respective successes on the new path that was created.

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