REGINA - The Michael Bishop experiment in Regina has come to an abrupt end.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders placed the veteran quarterback on waivers Monday, just two days after he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in a 33-12 loss to the B.C. Lions in the West Division semifinal at Mosaic Stadium.
The CFL club also said if no other team claims Bishop, he will be released and therefore become a free agent.
"I met with Kenny (Riders head coach Ken Miller) yesterday afternoon (Sunday), and, collectively, we decided that Michael Bishop will not be returning for the 2009 season," Roughriders general manager Eric Tillman said in a statement. "This is a very tough business at times, and this is certainly one of the more unpleasant aspects of professional football.
"Michael has been placed on waivers, and, if any club wishes to claim him, we will work with them to allow that opportunity to happen. If not, of course, he will become a free agent."
Bishop drew the start for Saskatchewan in Saturday's playoff game but struggled mightily. He completed just 14-of-27 passes for 172 yards with the three interceptions, including one Lions' defensive back Ryan Phillips returned 54 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. After that play, Miller replaced Bishop with Darian Durant, but by that time the game was well out of reach.
The Riders acquired Bishop, 32, from the Toronto Argonauts on Aug. 23 less than a season after he amassed an 11-1 record as the Argos starter. But Bishop's time as Toronto's No. 1 quarterback ended March 6 after the CFL club acquired Kerry Joseph, the league's outstanding player last season, from Saskatchewan.
Bishop made eight regular-season starts with the Riders, helping them post their second straight 12-6 record to finish second in the West Division and host a home playoff game for the second consecutive season.
However, much like his days in Toronto, Bishop was plagued with inconsistency during his time in Regina, resulting in Miller giving both Durant and backup Steven Jyles chances to start late in the season before returning to Bishop.
The former Kansas State star and one-time Heisman Trophy runner-up drew the start for Saskatchewan's regular-season finale in Toronto with the club desperately needing a victory in its battle for second with B.C. Bishop did manage to score three touchdowns against his former team, but also threw four interceptions.
However, Miller decided against making a quarterback change and stuck with Bishop as the Riders rallied from a 14-point deficit to outscore the Argos 28-7 in the fourth quarter for a 45-38 victory.
The Riders then clinched second place when Calgary defeated the Lions 41-30 on the final day of the regular season.
Bishop finished 141-of-232 passing with the Riders for 2,226 yards with seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also had 202 yards rushing on 41 carries with four touchdowns.
"In his time with our club, Michael helped us win several games, of which, we are very appreciative," Tillman said. "Michael is a good person and he handled the news with great dignity.
"We wish him every success in the future."
Even with Bishop's departure, the Riders will still have four quarterbacks under contract with Durant, Jyles, Dalton Bell and Drew Tate. Durant is scheduled to become a free agent in February but has said he'd like to remain with Saskatchewan.