EDMONTON — Simeon Rottier is back on the Edmonton Eskimos’ roster after a meeting Tuesday with general manager Ed Hervey, who was informed by the CFL his public criticism of the offensive lineman breached the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Rottier was singled out by Hervey at a news conference last week and criticized for his on-field performance in a loss to Calgary on Sept. 2. The GM said he wouldn’t be upset if Rottier didn’t play again this season.
Hervey met with Rottier before practice Tuesday and the team announced he would play Saturday when the Eskimos host Winnipeg.
"From our meeting today we both mutually agreed his play must improve," said Hervey. "He knows how I feel, how competitive I want this team to be. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person and a tremendous amount of respect as a player.
"But it doesn’t change the fact I was disappointed in the play of our team and disappointed in many players. But when it comes to our offensive line, I’ve been critical of our offensive line play since the outset and we expect, and I know Simeon will echo these sentiments, we expect to keep our quarterback on his feet."
Hervey was upset after quarterback Mike Reilly was sacked seven times in a 37-34 loss to the Stampeders. Rottier was then benched for the rematch last weekend, a 22-12 Calgary victory.
Rottier, a five-year CFL veteran in his second season in Edmonton, said he’s just "trying to move on as fast as possible and the best way to do that is just focus on Winnipeg right now."
A soft-spoken, religious man who prefers to avoid the spotlight, the 29-year-old Rottier said the meeting with Hervey needed to happen.
"We cleared it up and we’re ready to move on," he said. "We realized we both have the same goal and that’s to win."
Hervey, a first-year GM, said sometimes feathers have to be ruffled but he’s confident his players will step up.
"You rise to the challenge and rise to the top or you fold up and you go home," he said. "I don’t think we have a team full of guys who want to fold up and go home."
Hervey added he expected Rottier to respond in a positive manner.
"Simeon’s a professional. Players have an enormous amount of pride that cannot be shook by words. As far as negativity is concerned, he would have had every right to say what he wanted to say. I’m pretty sure if I was in his position, knowing me and my history, I would have said something."
Hervey also felt the benching may ultimately benefit Rottier and the Eskimos.
"I know I’m going to light a fire," Rottier said. "There’s things I need to work on to help the team. For me I try to live with grace a so it’s not my personality to lash out."
The 1-9 Eskimos sit in last place in the West Division standings.
The CFL Players’ Association issued a statement this week that called on the league to take action against Hervey.
A CFL spokesman said the league informed Hervey last week that his comments were inappropriate. There were no plans for discipline.