Saskatchewan Roughriders Part Ways with Derel Walker
In a move that resonates across the Canadian Football League, the Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the release of veteran receiver Derel Walker. After missing seven games due to a knee injury, the 32-year-old’s tenure with the Riders came to an abrupt end. The decision comes as the team prepares for their Week 10 game in Montreal against the Alouettes, scheduled for Friday, August 11, at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Derel Walker’s Impact on the CFL
Walker, a four-time divisional all-star, started his CFL career with Edmonton in 2015. He won a Grey Cup just days after being named the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie. After spending four seasons with Edmonton and a one-year stint with the Toronto Argonauts, Walker joined the Riders as a free agent this past off-season.
Known for his agility and skill, Walker’s career boasts impressive stats, including 474 receptions for 6,681 yards and 34 touchdowns over 92 career CFL games. Despite a decline in production in recent years, attributed by Walker to poor quarterback play in Edmonton, he was still seen by many, including Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson, as having “a lot of good football in him.”
The Decision to Release Walker
“We just didn’t have a spot for him unfortunately,” said Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson, expressing the difficulty in releasing a veteran player. He added, “We feel like we have good young receivers in house.”
Indeed, Walker’s absence opened doors for emerging talents like Tevin Jones, who’s played impressively this year, along with Shawn Bane Jr. and Samuel Emilus. The emergence of these receivers, who currently rank among the league’s top players, seemingly made Walker expendable.
The Texas A&M product had dressed for the Riders’ first game of the season, catching three passes for 28 yards and one touchdown against the Edmonton Elks. A subsequent injury in the home opener placed Walker on the six-game injured list. While he did return to the practice field, Dickenson noted that his return to the lineup was still weeks away.
The Riders (4-4) are looking to the future and focusing on their upcoming game against the Montreal Alouettes (4-3). With young talents stepping up, the team is on a path to success without Walker.
The release of Walker marks an end of an era, but also a new beginning for both the team and Walker himself. It remains to be seen where Walker’s career will take him next, but his contributions to the CFL are undeniable.
The league and fans will surely watch with anticipation as the Roughriders continue their season, and as Walker looks for his next opportunity to shine in Canadian football.
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