Canadian Football League

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Canadian Football League Teams Make Training Camp Cuts

Greg Golden and Derek Combs got caught up in the CFL numbers game Monday.
The rookie defensive backs both had solid efforts in the Toronto Argonauts' 16-16 exhibition tie with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Halifax on Saturday night. But with the Grey Cup champions chock full of experience in the secondary, Golden and Combs - a 2003 NCAA slam-dunk champion - were among 12 players released by the Argos as CFL teams reduced their training camp rosters to 50 players by midnight EDT on Monday.
"Yes, they both had some good moments Saturday night," said Greg Mohns, the Argos' director of player personnel. "But unfortunately, it's a numbers game because you can keep only so many Americans and we've got a lot of veterans back.
"There's no doubt those two guys can play in this league."
CFL teams carry 40 players on their active roster, 18 of which are American. Nineteen must be Canadian, with the remaining three being quarterbacks of any nationality.
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The challenge facing Golden and Combs was cracking an Argos secondary that's returning all five starters and key reserves Mike Crumb and Chris Hardy, who are both Canadian. Also, veteran punt-kickoff returner Bashir Levingston is back taking reps at cornerback after spending time at receiver.
Another factor was the play of rookie import Byron Parker, who is making a serious push for a starting job with Toronto.
Also released were quarterback Tom Denison, the two-time Hec Crighton Trophy winner from Beamsville, Ont., and veteran defensive back Raphaol Ball. Denison's departure wasn't surprising because he came in to reduce the workload of the quarterbacks in camp while the emergence of Parker made Ball expendable.
The Calgary Stampeders released nine players Monday, including defensive back Lawrence Deck, who was an off-season free agent acquisition.
A number of CFL teams were busy making personnel decisions Sunday.
The Ottawa Renegades released 10 players, including veteran long snapper Steve Glenn, defensive lineman Dimitrius Underwood and rookie running back Les Mullings. The club also re-signed quarterback Darnell Kennedy.
Underwood, a former first-round draft pick of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, was looking to resurrect his football career in Ottawa. The six-foot-five, 295-pound tackle spent time with three NFL teams - Minnesota, the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys - but made more headlines off the field.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Underwood twice attempted suicide and was arrested three times - including twice in November 2002 on charges of robbing a paraplegic in a wheelchair and punching a policeman. He has also spent time in psychiatric hospitals.
"There was some rust there," Joe Paopao, the Renegades head coach and GM, said of Underwood. "We wanted to take a look at his potential at making an impact and felt we had seen enough that we could look at others on the defensive line."
Mullings was Ottawa's third-round pick and expected to battle for the starting fullback spot. But he lost out to rookie Cory Hathaway and sophomore Gilles Lezi.
Edmonton released four players Sunday, including veteran long-snapper Roger Reinson and rookie kicker Chris Brewer. Brewer's departure means veteran Sean Fleming remains the Eskimos kicker and punter.
Montreal cut five players, including receiver Darnell McDonald, a former 1,000-yard receiver with the Calgary Stampeders. With the off-season departure of slotback Jeremaine Copeland to Calgary and wide receiver Thyron Anderson to the NFL's New Orleans Saints, McDonald was expected to contend for a starting spot.
Winnipeg cut 13 players, including defensive backs Jayson Bray, Stephen Fisher and Markese Fitzgerald, who played for the Bombers last year. Also released was receiver Dimitrius Breedlove, who spent last season with Hamilton.


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