A tone that was once lighthearted and optimistic seems to have soured some for Darian Durant.
Earlier in the season Durant was joking with the media about his contract situation and making pledges about bringing home more Grey Cups. Those sentiments have evaporated and so too, it seems, has the conversation between Durant’s agent and the Roughriders.
“I think right now it’s pretty much at a standstill,” Durant said Sunday while the team gathered to empty out their lockers. “I think (my agent and I have) presented an offer that is more than reasonable and it’s up to the team to accept it pretty much. If they don’t, I know where I stand and I know what the situation is.”
But what exactly that situation is still remains unknown. The Roughriders tried out three of their backup quarterbacks in the game against B.C. Saturday night and while Brandon Bridge showed flashes of greatness at the end of the game, neither he, Mitchell Gale or G.J. Kinne inspired much confidence.
For his part, Durant said he hasn’t thought about what it might mean not to be in the green and white next year because he wants to stay in Saskatchewan. As for if he’s hopeful he will be: he’s not sure.
“We’ll see. I mean I don’t know exactly how to feel right now, but my ultimate goal is to be here and we’ll see how it goes.”
That is the business of football, according to receiver Rob Bagg, who is really hoping his friend and quarterback will be back on the field with him next season.
“I’m Doubles’ (Durant’s) number one fan. I believe he’s the best quarterback in the league when he’s healthy and protected,” Bagg said, adding the team let him down a bit in that respect.
“I hope he’s back.”
We won’t know what’s happening on the other side of the negotiating table until Monday when head coach and general manager Chris Jones addresses the media about the end of the season. However Durant said that one offer he’s made has already been rejected and that has dulled his optimism.
“I feel like I’ve moved so much in the past couple of years,” Durant said. “Took a pay cut this year coming in, willing to take another pay cut and I feel like I’ve done my part.”
The Roughriders and Durant still have three months to come to terms before Durant would become a free agent in mid-February.