In a release, both Rhodes and board of directors chair Brad Sparrow said the two mutually agreed it “is in the best interests of the organization to allow Len to depart.”
LISTEN BELOW: Len Rhodes on the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED
“During Len’s seven-year tenure leading this organization, he has made significant contributions and has brought considerable success to this team and the city,” Sparrow said. “His hard work, perseverance and commitment to the team and the community have been admirable, and our Board of Directors wish to thank Len for his positive contributions.”
WATCH BELOW: ‘The sky is the limit’: Edmonton Eskimos former CEO on what’s next
Speaking with Ryan Jespersen on 630 CHED, Rhodes called the decision “truly a mutual decision.”
His contract was supposed to continue through 2019, but said it recently became clear to him that he wants to pursue other opportunities.
“The board and I felt it would be best if I left the organization now rather than at the end of 2019 to allow the football club to establish a plan to move forward,” Rhodes said.
“I will forever cherish my experience with this community-owned organization.”
Rhodes isn’t sure yet what his next opportunity will be, but did say that he hopes it keeps him in Edmonton.
“I just adore Edmonton, it’s the right city for me. I’ve given more to this community in terms of my engagement than I have in any other city. It’s just because that’s the way it is in Edmonton.”
WATCH BELOW: Satisfied, proud of what Edmonton Eskimos have done: Len Rhodes
Under his tenure, the team held a record of 68 wins and 58 losses, 12 playoff game appearances and a Grey Cup championship in 2015, the team said.
“I’m proud of that [record],” Rhodes said. “I’m proud of what we did on the business side. We’ve had record revenues and the biggest sponsorship deals in our history. I’m proud of what I did in the community and I’m proud of what I did for amateur football.”
WATCH BELOW: The Edmonton Eskimos have announced Len Rhodes is out as the club’s president and CEO. Fletcher Kent reports.
Rhodes was also the co-chair of the 2018 Grey Cup in Edmonton. That game turned out to be the last event he would be in Commonwealth Stadium for as Eskimos president and CEO.
“What we did for this city — and people are talking bout across this country, not only in the CFL office across the country but the fans on the street — I’m really proud of that,” Rhodes said of the Grey Cup’s success in Edmonton. “When you say you want to leave on a high, at least the past few events were spectacular and I’m going to have fond memories.”
WATCH BELOW: Deleting Twitter account ‘one of the most liberating experiences’: Len Rhodes
Two years ago, Rhodes underwent surgery after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He said he is in good health right now, but that the diagnosis played into his decision to leave the team.
“There’s so much to do in this life and if I, after seven years with the Edmonton Eskimos, just end up going into a mode of coasting, I don’t want that to happen, I want to do something else.”
LISTEN BELOW: Edmonton Eskimos on 630 CHED announcers Dave Campbell and Morley Scott weigh in after it was announced Len Rhodes would not be returning to the team
Rhodes said he doesn’t believe in regrets and stands behind all of the decisions he made in his role with the Eskimos. However, he said he wishes he was leaving after a season where the team made the playoffs.
“That rips me apart,” he said. “Anytime we had a loss at home or on the road it eats you, you have trouble sleeping.
“But I feel great that our last regular home season game, that was a victory.”
Rhodes’ final day as president and CEO will be Feb. 20, after joining the organization in 2011.
“I want to thank all of the dedicated and hardworking Eskimos staff, players, coaches, all past and present members of the board of directors, alumni, media partners and every fan who has made this such an incredible experience,” he said.
The team hasn’t released information on who will replace Rhodes, even on an interim basis.
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