Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Chris Jones says he was not aware of Duron Carter’s November arrest for marijuana possession when the receiver signed a contract extension on Jan. 22.
Jones spoke to the media on Wednesday to talk about the team’s free agent acquisitions but talk inevitably turned to Carter, who is facing two separate marijuana possessions charges, both stemming from incidents in Western Canadian airports. He was caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana at Winnipeg International Airport on Nov. 25, 2017 then arrested again on Feb. 1 at the Saskatoon airport and charged with marijuana possession a second time.
In between, the Riders inked Carter to a one-year deal for 2018 that included a $70,000 signing bonus and could see him earn up to $175,000 in 2018. The deal includes $144,000 in “hard money,” $74,000 in base salary and $31,000 in playtime bonuses, per 3DownNation insider Justin Dunk.
Jones said he wasn’t aware of the charge Carter was facing when they agreed to the new deal.
“I was not aware,” Jones said. “At that time, he just had the one and he didn’t fill me in on it and I’d rather meet with him face-to-face where I can sit down with him and get his take on it. He and I have had one conversation about it, that’s when he was around in Saskatoon, and he and I are going to sit down in the next little bit and discuss what’s going on and hopefully put these things behind us and grow up a little bit.”
Under the current Criminal Code for a first offence involving possession of 30 grams of marijuana could lead to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail and while personal marijuana use is slated to become legal in Canada this summer, possession of more than 30 grams will still be against the law.
Jones says the team has investigated the possible legal ramifications for Carter but are optimistic he’ll be able to play this season.
“We’ll wait to see what the legal process goes through and what the authorities say and then we’ll have more of a comment on exactly what happens with Duron,” Jones said. “We’ve had our people look at it and it appears that it will just be a fine but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Jones visited with Carter in Florida before the new deal was signed and clearly felt that Carter was showing signs of increased maturity.
“It’s kind of like when a family member or close friend gets in a situation like that,” Jones said. “I was really disappointed, I thought we were a bit beyond that kind of thing,”
Carter will appear in Winnipeg court Feb. 15 and Saskatoon March 27.