Saskatchewan Roughrider Tearrius George retiring, facing assault charge

Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive lineman Tearrius George is retiring after a domestic-related assault charge came to the team's attention.

Team silent about matter before the courts, police confirm George charged with assault

Tearrius George has been charged with assault by Regina police. (Peter Mills/CBC)

Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive lineman Tearrius George is retiring after a domestic-related assault charge came to the team's attention.

"I am stepping away from the game to focus on a personal issue," George said in a statement.

"I would ask for people to respect my family's privacy during this time."

He made the announcement after informing the team that he has an ongoing matter before the courts.

Regina police released details about the alleged assault Tuesday afternoon. 

In the afternoon of Thursday April 28, police were dispatched to the 5600 block of Gordon Road for a report of an assault. Police say George's partner indicated she and George had an argument. It's alleged that the argument escalated to the point that George physically assaulted her.

According to a police release, it is alleged George grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against a wall. The woman did not sustain any apparent injuries. Police also said a one-year-old child was present during the alleged incident.

Roughriders Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones said, "It wasn't a Rider decision", and that George informed the team of his retirement.

"It was a decision where Tearrius decided this was best for he and his family and that's basically what we're going to respect."

The team would not say when George informed them he was retiring.

"It's just one of those things where, that's life," Jones said. "You got to know that these type of things, you have to face them one time or another. Again, Tearrius has been nothing but a model citizen and we appreciate his services."

The team signed George in 2011.

CFL responds to alleged assault

Tearrius George spent the past five seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Peter Mills/CBC)

CBC News reached out to the CFL about whether the league is able to suspend or discipline a player who has retired under its domestic violence policy. In an emailed statement, CFL Director of Communications Paulo Senra said it can.

"The policy allows the League to impose additional sanctions in situations we believe is needed and appropriate," Senra said. "The League can technically assign a fine or suspension to a player who retires."

Senra also confirmed the CFL is reviewing the case, but added no sanctions have been imposed at this time.

"It's important to note that the policy, while it addresses sanctions, is primarily focused on (a) building awareness of violence against women, (b) ensuring anyone harmed gets help and (c) seeking behavior change on the part of those doing the harm. It is not simply about punishment. The Riders have followed the policy very closely in this matter."

The CFL unveiled its policy on violence against women in August 2015. It requires players and employees to undergo yearly mandatory training. If there is evidence, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said at the time, there will be sanctions. Those sanctions range from suspensions to a potential lifetime playing ban. The policy applies to anybody who works for the CFL, not just players.

Rider retirements

Maurice Price filed retirement papers with the CFL in April before ever playing a game with the Roughriders. (THE CANADIAN PRESS\Adrian Wyld)

George's announcement follows the abrupt retirements of offensive lineman Bruce Campbell and receiver Maurice Price. 

On Tuesday, Campbell filed his retirement papers with the league. The Riders made a trade with the Toronto Argonauts to acquire him in February.

Maurice Price abruptly filed retirement papers with the CFL in April following his trade from Ottawa. 

Riders head coach and general manager Chris Jones had said the team was "surprised" and "disappointed" to hear of Price's decision.

CFL linebacker Shea Emry also announced his retirement amid concussion concerns in February. He missed most of last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders due to a head injury. 

With files from CBC's Adam Hunter and the Canadian Press