The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 24, 2013

Johnstown grad, CFL legend traded

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown’s Geroy Simon made plenty of history as part of the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League.

But Simon and the Lions parted ways today, as the 37-year-old slotback was traded to the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

Simon became the CFL’s all-time leader in career receiving yards last season, his 12th with the Lions and 14th overall in the league. Simon is so popular in Vancouver, British Columbia, and throughout Canada that his likeness was placed on a Canada Post stamp last summer.

“My 12 seasons with the BC Lions have been the most incredible years of my professional life,” Simon said in a team news release. “I want to thank the entire BC Lions organization for giving me the opportunity to become a true professional.

“Most notably, I am extremely grateful to Mr. Braley (Lions owner David Braley), Wally Buono (GM and former head coach), Dennis Skulsky (Lions president), Mike Benevides (Lions head coach), as well as my teammates and coaches for all their years of support. The fans in BC have treated me as one of their own since I arrived here in 2001, and I'll never forget it.  I'm looking forward to a new and exciting opportunity in Saskatchewan.”

Simon won two Grey Cup championshps with the Lions. The Grey Cup is the CFL equivalent to the Super Bowl.

His 15,787 receiving yards are the most in CFL history. He had 14,756 of those yards while playing for the Lions.

A six-time CFL all-star and former league Most Outstanding Player, Simon was hobbled by hamstring issues and missed five games during the 2012 season. He finished with 700 receiving yards on 54 receptions in 13 appearances.

By comparison, Simon had nine consecutive 1,000-receiving yard seasons through 2011.

Questions about his role with the Lions for the upcoming season arose and eventually Simon asked for permission to explore his options with other CFL teams.

“After many weeks of discussion with Geroy, we have reached a point where we believe it’s in the best interest of both parties to move forward with a mutually agreed upon trade,” said vice president of football operations and GM Wally Buono in a release. “Geroy’s accomplishments as a player are well documented and his work in our community has been outstanding. We salute and thank Geroy and wish him the very best.”

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