Two days ago our Farhan Lalji reported that one of the greatest receivers in CFL history, Geroy Simon was calling it a career. Since Farhan's tweet, there have been all kinds of speculation as to why Simon would hang them up now, when as recently as a month and a half ago he indicated that he felt like he could play at least one more year.
The rumour getting the most traction is that he wasn't offered enough money by Saskatchewan GM Brendan Taman to make another year worth his while. However, sources very close to the situation said on Sunday night that this decision had nothing to do with money. The recent talks between the Rider GM and Simon went fine and did not factor into his decision. Information which makes sense because in all my discussions with the CFL's yardage leader throughout the years he has never made decisions based on money, and there is no reason to think he would start now.
Simon was trending on Twitter shortly after it was known that he was retiring, including tweets from many fans wondering why he wouldn't sign a one day contract with the Lions and hold the press conference in BC, since he played there the majority of his career there and racked up 14,756 of his 16,352 career yards as a Lion.
Retiring with the team you've played for the bulk of your career with has become ordinary practice for most athletes in all sports. However, since entering the league with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Simon has been anything but ordinary, and has followed his own path. Last year he played for the Roughriders, and his best game of the season was the most important game of the season, when he had two touchdown catches in the Grey Cup against Hamilton, so he will retire a Rider.
As for whether or not he could end up on another roster and play one more year in a different city, a source said as of Sunday night Simon had not heard from any other team in the league. While it seems shocking that teams wouldn't at least contact him to gauge his interest in playing somewhere else, we shouldn't read into the lack of interest too much.
First, Simon hasn't made it official, and until papers are filed to the league he is still a Roughrider. Also don't be surprised to hear that No. 81 may be hanging up his jersey, but isn't going to leave football, and that information may have already leaked to the other teams in the league.
He still has gas in the tank and could help a young team like Ottawa for instance, and I consider myself one of many who think he could play at least one more year. However, it sounds like he's decided it's time to make the transition into the next phase of his life, and once you have retired in your mind you are not going back, so it will be interesting to see what his new role in the game will be.
As initially reported, the official press conference will be held sometime this week in Regina, and will mark the end of the playing career of the most productive receiver in CFL history.
But as good as Simon was as a player he is even a better person, and will be successful in anything he does in the future. As I mentioned, it sounds like he will stay in football for now, but I know from previous conversations with him that he would be interested in exploring TV and I for one would welcome him with open arms to our team at TSN, if that opportunity ever presented itself.
He also has other interests and business partners away from the game, and you can bet there will be lots of open doors in the corporate world for Simon if he chooses to go that route. I mean, who wouldn't want to hire Superman.