With the 2014 season set to begin on Thursday, Sunday was cut down day in the CFL.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders gave 26 players the bad news they did not make the 46 man roster.

Among the familiar names gone are veteran receivers and local products Jordan Sisco and Jade Etienne.

Riders' Vice President and General Manager Brendan Taman said giving the news to them was difficult.

'Anytime you take away a guy's chance to play football it's tough.'- Brendan Taman, general manager and vice-president, Sask. Roughriders

"Those two kids were probably the hardest to tell. They have had a good career to some degree obviously in the last three or four years," said Taman. "Anytime you take away a guy's chance to play football it's tough."

He said it is highly unlikely Sisco and Etienne will make the practice roster, which is being released Tuesday.

Taman said the toughest overall decision was whether to drop Linebacker Brendon Isaac or Defensive Back Mark Legree. In the end they kept Legree.

Finding A Replacement For Sheets

The new roster is making it more clear who the Riders have their sights set on to replace Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets.

Running backs Keith Toston and Anthony Allen both made it through, while Jermaine Thomas' chances were sacked when the list was announced.

"Jermaine struggled. He wasn't what we thought we were going to see in mini-camp and even in Florida State days," said Taman. "The other two guys are still here and they are going to battle that out."

He said the team has not decided which running back will start Sunday's game. As for who will be starting in the receiving core this Sunday, Taman said he is considering Eron Riley, Chaz Schillens, Ryan Smith and Brett Swain.

Two of the four would join Taj Smith, Rob Bagg and Chris Getzlaf in starting positions.

When it comes to quarterback, Seth Doege made the cut and is behind Darian Durant and Tino Sunseri.

As for the defensive line, Trevor Guyton and Derek Walker made the cut and are expected to replace Keith Shologan and Zack Evans. 

Taman said there is still time to make a few more moves to the roster before Thursday, calling the roster a "work in progress."

Notably on the six-game injured list to start the season is Chad Kilgore. The projected starting middle linebacker broke his thumb in Friday's game against Edmonton. Canadian Sam Hurl is expected to fill that position. 

There is still hope for the 26 released, as the Riders can name 10 of them to the practice roster.

The Riders start their season next Sunday at Mosaic Stadium when they host Hamilton in a Grey Cup rematch.