The departures outnumbered the arrivals for the Montreal Alouettes on Wednesday, with the announcement that veteran Paul Lambert had been granted his requested release and the nullification of a trade for defensive end Mike Labinjo.
Lambert had spent the last eight of his 10 CFL seasons on the Alouettes’ offensive line. In 2010, he took over at centre after Bryan Chiu retired.
“I personally want to thank Paul for his services as an Alouette. Paul has been a tremendous teammate and a first class person on and off the field. He is a joy to be around and full of laughter. I wish Paul, Pam, and family happiness in their future endeavours,” said General Manager Jim Popp in the team’s official release.
Lambert missed the final stretch of the 2010 campaign after suffering a torn bicep against the Stampeders on Oct. 1. He was replaced by Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, who had been in and out of the lineup after struggling at left guard. He also underwent knee surgery in the offseason.
According to The Gazette, the Lambert story runs deeper than him simply asking to be released. The newspaper reports that management presented the long-time Alouette, who was scheduled to be in his option year, with a trio of options: restructure his contract, retire, or be traded.
The other departure came when last week’s trade for Mike Labinjo was voided, thus returning his rights to Calgary. Labinjo was recovering from injury upon his acquisition but per The Gazette report, Alouettes doctors didn’t feel he’d be ready for training camp.
“The Alouettes were looking forward to giving Mike Labinjo a chance to return to the field. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way today,” said Popp. “We thank Mike and the Calgary Stampeders for their patience as we went through a thorough process to see if the trade would work out. Mike was nothing but first class through the process and we wish him the best in his quest to return to the field soon.”
Green chooses CFL over NFL
It’s common for pending CFL free agents or those in their option year to try and land an NFL deal, especially for imports. S.J. Green was one of those but in the end, he decided to call Montreal home for the next three seasons.
“S.J. Green has solidified himself as one of the up and coming stars for the future in the CFL. He has been one of the most patient and loyal players that the Alouettes have ever had to get playing time on the field,” emphasized Popp. “He has also been one of the most attractive players for the NFL over the last two years. SJ decided that the CFL is the best place for him and his family at this time.”
Green wowed the league on the opening day of the 2010 campaign, reeling in an incredible one-handed grab to successfully complete a two-point convert in overtime. The 25-year-old finished third among Alouettes receivers, accumulating 875 yards on 58 catches and topped his teammates with 10 touchdowns. The 2011 season will be his fifth with the club.
Can’t get enough of the Alouettes? Be sure to click “Subscribe” at the top of the page to be notified of new articles. You can also get social with us by following on Twitter and becoming a fan on Facebook.