The Riders’ continued their off-season mini-overhaul by announcing the release of defensive tackle Marcus “Chunky” Adams. A fan favourite since joining the team in 2003, Adams (pictured) had been hobbled somewhat by injuries the last two seasons. In 16 games in 2010, he recorded 26 tackles, two quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery.
On the Riders’ Facebook page, the announcement drew over 60 comments — most expressing dismay that the popular player had been cut. The move follows the late-February release of another fan favourite defensive back Omarr Morgan. That move also attracted a fair number of nay-sayers in Riderville.
With only three Grey Cup wins in their 100-year history, the Riders probably hold the record for futility in professional sports (especially considering that for most of that time they’ve played in an eight or nine team league). And yes, their poor record is partly attributable to their status, until recent years anyway, as a small market team competing against much larger and more prosperous centres.
But one factor that I think has hurt the team’s fortunes over the years is the tendancy of fans to get overly attached to certain players, with the result that management sometimes hesitates to make the tough personnel decisions needed to improve the team.
Yes, it’s great when players put down roots in the community and win fan favour with their charity work and genial personalities. But at some point, their talent diminishes and they become liabilities instead of assets on the field. Defensively last season, the Riders had their moments. But they also proved extremely vulnerable to the run and pass. Were Adams and Morgan weak links in the armour? The Rider brass evidently thinks they were, and that upgrades at their positions are possible.
Can’t say as I disagree with them, either. Which doesn’t detract from my appreciation for the contribution Adams and Morgan made to the Riders during their time here.