Veteran Bagg, former MOP Owens among surprise Rider cuts

Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Chris Jones prides himself on building versatile teams. Michael Bell/Regina Leader-Post

For the last 10 years, Rob Bagg has been a fixture on the Saskatchewan Roughriders roster.

On Sunday, that era came to an end.

Bagg, who joined the Riders in 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Queens University, was one of 23 players cut by the Riders on Sunday.

The 33-year-old ends his time with the Green and White with 364 career receptions, 4,705 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns.

During a press conference on Sunday, Roughrider head coach Chris Jones called Bagg “a tremendously loyal guy,” but added that cutting him was a difficult decision that needed to be made.

“That was a tough one,” Jones said. “Rob Bagg’s been a good player here for a long time. Certainly he’s been a loyal player for us during our tenure here. It’s one of those things where, it’s a young man’s game, unfortunately, and we had a couple of young guys who really performed really well over the course of the entire camp.”

Bagg wasn’t the only surprise cut on Sunday, as the Riders made the required moves to get below the league roster limit. Former CFL Most Outstanding Player Chad Owens also received his walking papers, as did Bakari Grant, who put together a 1,000-yard season last year for the Green and White.

The Riders weren’t the only team with a few surprises either. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made waves by cutting the CFL’s first overall pick from 2017, defensive tackle Faith Ekakitie.

Ekakitie appeared in 14 games for the Bombers last season, but was a healthy scratch in their final pre-season game of 2018.

The Calgary Stampeders also turned heads by cutting veteran WR Anthony Parker. The University of Calgary product had spent all seven years of his CFL career with the Stamps.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats made news based on who they didn’t cut, namely former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Manziel, who threw is first CFL TD pass in Hamilton’s 30-15 win over the Montreal Alouettes, was among not among the 16 players cut by the club over the weekend.