Roughriders coach Dickenson on releasing Marino: DL was 'becoming a distraction'

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman Garrett Marino (92) knocks down a dummy during the first day of the team’s training camp at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon, Sask., on Friday, May 20, 2022. (Heywood Yu/The Canadian Press)

Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson says Garrett Marino was "becoming a distraction" before the club decided to release the defensive lineman on Tuesday.

Dickenson addressed the decision for the first time on Wednesday as the club returned to practice in Regina.

"It was cumulative. It just got to be too much," Dickenson told reporters. "It starts wearing you down and becoming a distraction. He knows it."

The latest controversial hit came on Sunday when Marino levelled Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros after he had pitched the ball.

Collaros, the front-runner for the league's most outstanding player award, stayed in the game and there was no penalty on the play.

Earlier this year, Marino was given a CFL record four-game suspension for a low hit that injured Jeremiah Masoli — followed by comments made about the Redblacks quarterback's heritage — along with an illegal hit on offensive lineman Dino Boyd.

After his suspension, Marino said he regretted the incident.

Masoli has said he felt the punishment was not stiff enough for Marino.

Marino was also fined last month for unnecessary roughness in a game against B.C. Lions offensive lineman Peter Godber.

Marino, 28, had one sack and nine defensive tackles this year.

The Alabama-Birmingham product also made headlines last year, his first season in the CFL, when he was ejected from a Winnipeg-Saskatchewan game for throwing punches.

“It’s been unfortunate. Hopefully we can move on to football stuff now," Dickenson said. "We wish Garrett the best and hopefully he lands on his feet somewhere and is able to change what he needs to change and do things a little differently than he’s done in his past."

Marino tweeted "I am Thankful, Grateful, & Truly Blessed," on Wednesday.

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