Als cut ties with Green, trade him to Arg­onauts

Club trades in­jured player to Arg­onauts for sixth-round pick in col­lege draft

Montreal Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - HERB ZURKOWSKY

Time will dic­tate the mer­its of Kavis Reed’s ten­ure with the Alou­ettes; it al­ways does. But the new gen­eral man­ager’s le­gacy might be re­mem­bered as be­ing the guy who traded away S.J. Green.

“The ques­tion I wres­tled with, at what point do you make a switch of this mag­ni­tude? When does it be­come easy?” Reed said Thurs­day af­ter­noon, af­ter the Als an­nounced Green had been traded to the Toronto Arg­onauts for a sixth-round pick in next month’s Cana­dian col­lege draft, along with a con­di­tional 2018 pick.

“I’m not be­ing paid to make easy de­ci­sions,” Reed con­tin­ued. “It’s never go­ing to be easy to tran­si­tion from an S.J. Green-cal­i­bre player, but it hap­pens in ev­ery league. It’s never an easy time ... be­cause of what he’s done and what he means to the fran­chise.

“But you can’t be afraid to make de­ci­sions.”

The trade will re­unite Green, 31, with new Ar­gos head coach Marc Trest­man and gen­eral man­ager Jim Popp. It was Reed who re­placed Popp last De­cem­ber.

While the trade can be con­sid­ered sur­pris­ing, and cer­tainly is of some mag­ni­tude, it can’t be con­sid­ered shock­ing.

There’s no doubt Green is one of the great­est re­ceivers in team his­tory. He spent por­tions of 11 sea­sons with the Als, record­ing four 1,000-yard cam­paigns over a five-year span once he be­came a reg­u­lar. But Green missed most of last sea­son af­ter suf­fer­ing a hor­rific knee in­jury against Ot­tawa, June 30, in the sec­ond game.

Green, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, had a com­plete tear of his me­dial, pos­te­rior and an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ments, as well as dam­ag­ing the menis­cus in his right knee. At the time, he was told by doc­tors he might never play again.

While Green’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion has pro­gressed nicely and his re­cov­ery’s on sched­ule — he has vowed to be ready for the start of train­ing camp on May 28 — there’s much un­cer­tainty as he moves for­ward, which is un­der­stand­able.

He’s also sched­uled to earn $250,000 this sea­son and, once he passed his phys­i­cal, would have been asked to re­struc­ture his con­tract. In­deed, Green ad­mit­ted he was ap­proached by Reed this month at mini-camp to take a pay cut, but the two couldn’t reach an agree­ment.

Once that sce­nario played out, a trade be­came the next most plau­si­ble op­tion. The or­ga­ni­za­tion was trans­par­ent with Green through­out the process, so he wasn’t caught by sur­prise. If he were healthy, the re­turn from Toronto would have been greater.

“I’ll be honest, I’m ex­cited. I feel re­ju­ve­nated al­ready and I wasn’t caught off-guard,” Green told the Mon­treal Gazette from his win­ter home in Tampa.

“Kavis and I sat down last week. He gave me the lay of the land. He was cour­te­ous enough to al­low me to have some in­put on my de­ci­sion. We came to the con­clu­sion the best de­ci­sion was for me to be traded. He was kind enough to trade me ... to a place I know I’ll feel com­fort­able.”

Green wouldn’t com­ment on whether the Ar­gos will now or even­tu­ally re­struc­ture his con­tract, other than to ad­mit he and Popp have spo­ken and he feels com­fort­able mov­ing for­ward.

“It’s the busi­ness. Kavis has to run his busi­ness how he sees fit,” Green said.

“Ul­ti­mately, I have to run the S.J. Green en­ter­prise.”

Green ar­guably be­come re­dun­dant when the Als signed freeagent re­ceiver Ernest Jack­son from Ot­tawa in Fe­bru­ary. Nik Lewis, B.J. Cun­ning­ham, Ti­quan Un­der­wood and Samuel Giguère are among the re­turn­ing re­ceivers. On Thurs­day, the Als also signed Cana­dian re­ceiver Devon Bai­ley, who spent three sea­sons with Ed­mon­ton and is a former first-round draft choice.

“When you look at all the ma­trix of our foot­ball team and the re­ceiv­ing corps we have, we’re very con­fi­dent we have a very strong core group,” Reed said. “We feel, mov­ing for­ward, we have to be able to turn the page.”

I’m not be­ing paid to make easy de­ci­sions. It’s never go­ing to be easy to tran­si­tion from an S.J. Green-cal­i­bre player, but it hap­pens in ev­ery league.

LIAM RICHARDS/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

S.J. Green is one of the great­est re­ceivers in Alou­ettes his­tory. He spent por­tions of 11 sea­sons with the Als, record­ing four 1,000-yard cam­paigns over a five-year span.

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