Saskatchewan

Roughriders, CFL won't welcome Justin Cox back

Roughriders head coach Chris Jones says the team has made up its mind and won't welcome back former defensive back Justin Cox, even after being found not guilty of the assault charge that resulted in his release from the team.

The former Roughrider was found not guilty Monday of the assault charge that resulted in his CFL ban

Chris Jones is not wavering on his original decision to cut Cox from the team. (CBC News)

Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones says the team has made up its mind in regards to parting ways with former defensive back Justin Cox.

Cox was released by the CFL team on April 19, one day after Regina police charged him following an investigation into an allegation of intimate partner violence.

On Monday, he was found not guilty of assault causing bodily harm.

After the Riders released Cox, the league stepped in and barred any other team from signing the defensive player.

After learning of the not guilty verdict, Cox said he'd like to return to his former team. But today, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge reaffirmed the position he had taken on Cox a month earlier.

"I made a statement that if any team were to try to sign [Cox], that his contract would not be accepted by the league office," Orridge said. "Our position hasn't changed."

Justin Cox, 24, was found not guilty of the charges on Monday. (CBC)

'We're going in a different direction'

Jones said he spoke with members of Riders management and they all share Orridge's sentiment.

"I've got two little girls at home and both those guys have two little girls at home. It's just a situation that's a matter of principle for us and we're going in a different direction," he said.

Jones said they wish the best for Cox and "hope his situation gets better."

Since the charges were dropped on Monday, Jones said they have not been in touch with Cox.

The team didn't wait for the final verdict before letting Cox go back in April, but Jones said they did take his history into account.

Cox was released by the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 after being arrested and charged with domestic violence twice in less than a year.

The team is now in training camp, preparing for the upcoming season. Their first preseason game is on June 10.

Jones acknowledged the hole Cox left in the team.

"He's a great player. He's in fact, probably the best cover guy that I've ever coached," he said.

If the CFL clears Cox to play, Jones said his decision would not falter.

"That's the decision that we've made and we're sticking to it," he said. "I could not put the club or the team in that situation."

With files from Devin Heroux

now