Lions release receiver Arland Bruce III, defensive back Byron Parker
Bruce won Grey Cup with team in 2011
A day after signing his marquee player, B.C. Lions general manager Wally Buono began revamping the CFL club's roster.
The Lions released former all-stars Arland Bruce III and Byron Parker on Friday. The moves came after the Lions awarded quarterback Travis Lulay with a new three-year contract.
However, Buono denied Thursday that Lulay's new deal would restrict the team financially.
The Lions acquired wide receiver Bruce in a trade with the Hamilton Ticats midway through the 2011 season. He was part of the Lions' Grey Cup victory that year after arriving with a reputation as a player who did not always get along with management and coaches during his previous stops.
But Buono and coach Mike Benevides viewed Bruce as a model professional who was extremely dedicated to his craft. Bruce was also an extremely popular figure in the B.C. dressing room.
"I just took it as another opportunity for me to play professional football," Bruce said last fall about his move to the Lions in 2011. "I thought I did extremely well for making it to the playoffs, making it to the championship game (in 2011.)"
But Bruce missed the final five games of the 2012 regular season with a concussion before returning for the Western Final that B.C. lost to Calgary.
Bruce has spent 11 years in the CFL with Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton and B.C., generating more than 10,000 yards receiving and 89 touchdowns. His departure appears to clear the way for slotback Geroy Simon to return to the Lions.
B.C.'s receiving corps has trended younger in the past two seasons, and observers felt the club was likely to keep either Simon, 37, the CFL's all-time leading receiver or 35-year-old Bruce.
Simon indicated after the season he might be willing to restructure his contract, if requested, in order to stay.
Meanwhile, Parker took his release gracefully, thanking Buono, Benevides and Lions fans on Twitter for their support in his single season with the club.
"Anybody have room on their roster for me?" Parker asked in a tweet.
The defensive back was acquired as a free agent last year and appeared in all 18 regular-season games for the Lions, recording 38 tackles and one interception.
"I don't know what tomorrow brings, but I can't wait to find out," tweeted Parker.
He has 236 tackles and 29 interceptions over nine seasons with Toronto, Edmonton and B.C.
He and Bruce also played together with the Argonauts.
"Looks like [Bruce] and I are always attached at the hip in some way," tweeted Parker.
Lions defensive back Ryan Phillips was sorry to see Bruce and Parker go, tweeting that they were both "class acts" and he "loved every moment" with them.