Jason Clermont - Receiver - 2002-08 - Saskatchewan
Jason Clermont Leaves CFL on high Note - Ian Hamilton - regina Leader-Post - 25-04-2012
REGINA — It didn’t take Jason Clermont long to come to grips with the end of his CFL playing career.
“I don’t know anybody who plays forever,” the 33-year-old Regina product said Tuesday after telling the Leader-Post that he was “done” after 10 seasons in the league. “I’m healthy. I’m able to walk out of the game with the same two legs I walked into it with, so I’m pretty happy about that.
“I was frustrated the last three years (with the Saskatchewan Roughriders) in the role that there wasn’t for me, but in hindsight, I really put myself through a physical beating during the time I spent in B.C. It might be a blessing that my body has been spared quite a bit the last three years.”
Clermont spent his first seven CFL seasons with the B.C. Lions, but he was released after the 2008 season. He signed with the Roughriders in December of 2008 and spent three seasons with them, primarily in a backup capacity.
Saskatchewan didn’t offer the 6-3, 227-pound slotback a contract after he became a free agent Feb. 15, but Clermont said he “had some opportunities” to continue his career.
“One of them seemed like a really good football opportunity, so there was the 21-year-old inside of me whose knee-jerk response was ‘Go do it,’ ” said Clermont, a partner in a Regina realty company who lives year-round in the Queen City with his wife and three children.
“Then, as I started to unravel all the variables in my life, I realized it would be a very selfish decision for me to leave home and play football for one or two more years when I’m happy with my career how it is.”
Clermont was one of the top receivers in Canadian junior football when the Regina Rams moved to Canadian Interuniversity Sport in 1999 and he built on that at the university level.
He was a fixture on Canada West all-star teams and on CIS all-Canadian teams and, in 2001, was Canada West’s nominee for the Hec Crighton Trophy as the top player in CIS football. Clermont’s showing that season also earned him an invitation to play in the 2002 East-West Shrine Game with NCAA all-stars.
Later that spring, he was selected by the Lions in the first round (fourth overall) of the CFL draft. He stuck with them in 2002 and, that season, caught 46 passes for 735 yards and six touchdowns en route to being named the league’s most outstanding rookie.
In the next five seasons, he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark three times and, in 2004 and ’07, was named the CFL’s most outstanding Canadian. He also was voted the top Canadian in the 2004 Grey Cup game.
After the 2008 season, Clermont was released by the Lions and signed by the Roughriders. Being used as a reserve, or as a wide receiver, led to frustration for someone who had made his name as a starting slotback.
“The kind of player that I am is a pretty specific role and there just wasn’t that role for me here, unfortunately,” said Clermont, who caught 73 regular-season passes for 849 yards and one touchdown over his time with the Roughriders. “I was under the impression that that role was going to be created and it wasn’t.”
That said, Clermont never regretted his decision to sign in Saskatchewan.
“We went to two Grey Cups (in 2009 and 2010) and, for three years, I got to spend every night with my family,” he said. “I didn’t grow up tossing the ball in the park dreaming of playing for any other team than the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That was good to be able to do that.”
Clermont leaves the CFL with 501 career receptions for 6,766 yards and 38 touchdowns in 165 regular-season games.
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