Canadian Football League

Sunday, February 27, 2005

After several delays, the 2005 Canadian Football League schedule is ready to be released. It's expected that on Monday the final draft will be unveiled following some final tinkering by the Argos, who had to work out some details with Rogers Communications following its official takeover of the SkyDome -- now known as Rogers Centre -- earlier this month.
"I can easily say it's a tremendous home schedule," Argos president Keith Pelley said yesterday. "I think it's so much better than last year."
Pelley would not disclose specific dates on the schedule but reiterated that there would be more weekend dates than last year which had several weekday games.
It's already known that the Argos first game will be at home on June 25 against the B.C. Lions in a rematch of last year's Grey Cup, which Toronto won 27-19 in Ottawa.
There also have been rumours that the Argos will play back-to-back games in the same weeks against Hamilton, beginning with the annual Labour Day clash, followed by a return match the following Saturday in Toronto.
The Ottawa Renegades have talked to the Argos about acquiring defensive end Eric England, but Toronto isn't willing to deal at this point.
Argos vice-president of football operations Adam Rita said there isn't a specific deal Ottawa is proposing to acquire England, who tied for the league lead in sacks two years ago with 14.
The Renegades have the second pick overall in the CFL draft in April. Rita said that would be a "good start," but wants additional high draft picks.
"Like I told them, I'm not really all that interested in trading Eric England to an Eastern team, but they're going to have to come up with something good," Rita said. "I'm not interested in a body or anything right now. Our roster is pretty well full. I'm interested in the future.
"Right now clubs are talking, but talking and actually doing it is a far remote thing. If people are interested in some of our guys and are willing to make a win-win situation, I'm interested -- you can put the word out -- but I'm not interested in dismantling this team. We have a few players that maybe are extra."
England re-signed with the Argos just before he was scheduled to become a free agent on Feb. 16.
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Dave Ritchie has been named defensive co-ordinator of the B.C. Lions, the club announced yesterday.
Ritchie returns to the city where he enjoyed his greatest success -- he led the Lions to a Grey Cup as head coach in 1994.
Following yesterday's signing of free-agent quarterback Henry Burris by Calgary, the Stamps are waiving Khari Jones, whom the previous football administration acquired in a trade last year from Winnipeg. While both Hamilton and Edmonton may have interest, it's expected Saskatchewan, which lost Burris, will sign Jones once he clear waivers to a deal that will pay between $150,000 to $200,000 a season ... Look for Hamilton to announce a couple free-agent signings next week. Possible names include defensive ends Rahim Abdullah and Roger Dunbrack and receiver Corey Grant.


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