Same disruption, different team

Saskatchewan Roughrider Duron Carter will start at cornerback for his team when they play against the Stampeders in Calgary on Oct. 20. Michael Bell/Regina Leader-Post

Is Saskatchewan Roughrider Duron Carter worth it as a player?

I doubt it.

Lately, those doubts have been stoked by the boisterous wider receiver’s dust-up at the team’s practice on Monday afternoon with practice-squad defensive back Sam Williams.

According to multiple media reports, Carter and Williams squared off bare-knuckle style, helmets off.

According to defensive captain and veteran defensive back Jovon Johnson, Williams disrupted a drill that the receivers and quarterbacks were running, apparently agitating Carter.

On Twitter, TSN’s Dave Naylor cited undisclosed team sources that said a Riders’ coach was urging the players to fight. There was also talk that fellow receiver Bakari Grant was trying to diffuse the scrap.

By Tuesday afternoon, head coach and general manager Chris Jones was mostly mum on the Monday mix-up, saying the appropriate disciplinary action had been taken for all parties involved (allegedly or not) and that the fight was a normal part of the violent sport of football.

He declined to give details on disciplinary action and specifics of the fight.

For the rest of the week, we were left to guess and speculate what the internal fallout of the melee might have been, or continue to be.

Let’s put that aside and consider the facts.

Almost one year after the Montreal Alouettes released Carter (Oct. 17, 2016), he found himself embroiled in another in-house controversy where he clashed with teammates.

In September 2016, Carter was at odds with then Montreal-quarterback Rakeem Cato over Cato’s perceived lack of respect thrown his way by Carter and then-teammate Kenny Stafford. The two had to be separated at an Alouettes’ practice. They each subsequently aired their grievances to the media.

Apparently history does, sometimes, repeat itself.

Two months prior, in July 2016, Carter chest-bumped and knocked down Ottawa Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell after he scored a touchdown in a week 2 game. Yes, Carter was playing for the opposing Alouettes.

He was suspended one game and fined by the CFL. (The league fined Campbell, too.)

Then there were Carter’s ominous, post-practice tweets after his fight with Williams, fuelling speculation he was to be cut by Jones and the Riders: “Life is like a box of chocolate … it’s the nasty ones that get you,” and “It was fun while it lasted … love y’all.”

On Tuesday, Carter explained the latter tweet was his way of saying he’s getting off Twitter to focus on football and a potential Riders’ playoff run.

As recently as Thursday afternoon, Carter was tweeting on the social media site.

As for his on-field play, Carter has been streaky, helpfully pointed out by my much more observant colleague.

He’s punctuated his 2017 season with a 231-receiving-yard effort (in a losing cause) last week against Ottawa and a 113-yard missed convert return for two points against Edmonton in week 10.

But he’s also flubbed games this year, when he’s tallied just 12 (two times), 25, five and four receiving yards.

For his team’s away game against Calgary this Friday, Jones said he decided to play Carter at starting boundary-side cornerback to replace an injured Kacey Rodgers and Chris Lyles.

Perhaps Jones feels he’s closer to an answer regarding Carter’s value on offense.

“He’s very instinctual. And quite honestly, I’m not sure he’s not a better corner than he is a receiver,” Jones told reporters at Riders practice on Wednesday.

We’ll see if the loud-mouthed pass-catcher fares any better on the opposite side of the ball.

Hopefully his disruptions will prove more useful there, directed at opposing players.