New B.C. Lions general manager Ed Hervey gave a wide-ranging interview to Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver that touched on a number of key issues, including his relationship with the media, his thoughts on Travis Lulay’s future with the club and whether the team has any interest in Johnny Manziel.
Hervey, who was known for having a fractious relationship with the media while in his previous role as GM of the Edmonton Eskimos, blamed an “entitled” writer or two for many of the issues (that’s likely in reference to Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones.)
“I haven’t changed, I wasn’t what people tried to make me out to be. You have to understand, in that market there’s a particular writer or two that feels entitled to having everything and is used to pushing the football operations department around and I wasn’t going to be pushed around. I wanted to keep all of our information in-house and have our communications department release information as we saw fit because times have changed in the CFL. It’s not good for the football teams when the writers or the media so to speak are pushing out the clubs news. For example with yesterday’s trade with Montreal, Gabe Knapton and Chris Williams, we would prefer to put a release out to give our fans the pomp and circumstance that we want to make it exciting for our fans to be interested in buying tickets. What you guys do, when you guys get it, it’s like saying that the Beatles broke up and we already knew that. So by the time the fans get the information and we put it out its like ‘well we already heard that’. People are left scrambling. I understand that people have a job to do in your profession, but you have to understand that my job was never to feed and become a source. The Eskimos hired that philosophy, and everyone was okay with that philosophy and I don’t believe, I know that wasn’t the reason why I left. There are certain things that I am guarded with and that’s just because I just feel that the information that we have gives us a competitive advantage if it’s not out to the public until we’re ready to place it out there.”
He also addressed the future of veteran quarterback Travis Lulay, who is set to become a free agent in February and is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season.
“I deal with Travis the way I deal with all players, I look at our roster and make sure that each player that we choose to bring in gives us the best opportunity at being successful in the upcoming season. I know that Travis has been an excellent player, an ambassador to this organization and this community. He’s done many great things on the field and that’s not to say that he can’t be a part of this, but as we’re doing the evaluation it is to create the best competition we can moving forward and above everything else try to put the best 75 players on our training camp roster so we can have a competitive camp and compete in the most competitive division in the CFL.”
Hervey was also asked if he’d be interested in quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose rights the Hamilton Tiger-Cats may or may not be interested in dealing once he gets the good ahead to join the league, as expected.
“No. No, no, no, no not at all. He’ll probably be good for someone, I’m not interested in bringing someone in just to sell tickets. We want to bring in good football players, quality character guys that fit into the culture that we’re trying to create here: family, team and togetherness. I don’t have the information on that player. But I’m not going to beat around the bush on whether we want someone or not, in this case that would be an absolute no.”
As for Lions quarterback Jonathan Jennings.
“I believe in Jonathon. I think that he’s got a lot of qualities. I think he has a tremendous upside. I think last year was a tough year for him, obviously with the injury he just had one of those seasons. Do I think he has an opportunity in front of him that can grow? I do. Am I ready to say he’s the No. 1 guy? Like anything we want to make sure that we look at all options as far as our football team is concerned but he is a quarterback that we know has proven himself and has done some great things in this league. We would like to see a level of consistency out of him, but he will be back and it’s going to be his opportunity to make the most of.
Listen to the full interview here.