Rey Williams in; Joe Lobendahn out as Roughriders linebacker

Former Rider returns to Saskatchewan
Reported by Joel Gasson
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders are making changes when it comes to their linebackers.

As speculated on the weekend, the team officially announced the signing of Rey Williams, along with the release of Joe Lobendahn on Monday.

Williams re-joins the green and white after playing in Saskatchewan from 2007-2009 before signing with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"Rey is a guy we never wanted to lose a few years back," said General Manager Brendan Taman. "He's obviously been pretty good over the last few years, very well liked in our locker room."

The move comes as a bit of a surprise as Lobendahn was extended at the end of the season, and was under contract for at least the next season. Taman says the move was made because with the salary cap in mind.

"A number of factors go into a lot of things we do, economics is one of them," said Taman.

Taman obviously wouldn't go into specifics, but did hint that Williams will be cheaper for the team than Lobendahn would have been. They also couldn't have brought both to camp as Taman says they probably would have ended up paying for both of them.

"This isn't what Joe didn't do, it's just Rey is a real complete good linebacker that is affordable for us, and that's the bottom line," said Taman.

Even though Taman said that they didn't want to lose Williams in the first place, he told reporters that they didn't jump at the chance to sign him the second he was released by Hamilton.

"Little by like Ricky Foley, where initially we knew what he was making was quite a bit," said Taman. "As time went on, and things happened, his price went down for a number of reasons."

As that number went down, that's when the Riders became interested in bringing Williams back into the fold. Taman also said that there was definitely interest from other teams in Williams.

Williams 94 tackles last season while a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats put him third in the league. In 2011 he was fourth with 91 tackles.

The linebacker was a member of the Riders in 2007-2009, becoming a full time starter in 2009. He left in 2010 to join the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL.

Lobendahn's release comes after collecting 40 tackles after being picked up midway through the 2012 season.

With files from CJME's Jamie Nye