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Jason Clermont played seven seasons with the Lions. ((Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press))

The B.C. Lions announced early Thursday the release of veteran Canadian slotback Jason Clermont.

"This was a very difficult decision and an equally difficult day for the BC Lions Football Club," Lions general manager and head coach Wally Buono said in the statement. "We are grateful for … Jason's hard work and dedication to excellence over the past seven seasons and we wish him the very best in the future."

Clermont finished the season with 50 receptions for 640 yards, with three touchdowns. The Regina native dealt with a neck injury, missing four games.

The previous season, Clermont caught a career-high 86 passes. In his seven seasons with the Lions, he caught 428 passes, fourth in franchise history.

He ranks sixth in receiving yards at 5,917 — just ahead of Darren Flutie (5,870) and slightly behind Ray Alexander (6,045) —and sixth in touchdowns, with 37.

Clermont, 29, said he wants to continue playing.

"I would like to thank the fans for their incredible support over the last seven years," Clermont said in a statement. "I leave the Lions with a Grey Cup ring, three league awards and countless memories and friendships, all of which were made possible by the fans."

He was named the league's outstanding rookie in 2002, winning top Canadian honours in 2004 and 2007, as well as in the Grey Cup game of 2006.

The Lions also said they would not pick up the option year on running back Charles Roberts, 29, who was acquired from Winnipeg in September in exchange for Joe Smith.

Roberts this season became just the fifth man in CFL history to go over 10,000 yards rushing but had a disappointing campaign. He finished with 815 yards on 176 carries, with nine touchdowns.

He had gained over 1,375 yards rushing in each of the previous five seasons with the Blue Bombers, finishing as runner-up in 2006 for CFL most outstanding player of the year honours.

He has scored 82 touchdowns in his CFL career, putting him in the top 15 all-time.

With files from the Canadian Press