Canadian Football League

Friday, January 28, 2005

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Bobby Thompson died Thursday of a heart attack at the age of 46.
Thompson played for the Bombers from 1979 to 1983. "It is with great sadness that we learned about the passing of our great friend and teammate, Big Cat," said Bombers president Lyle Bauer. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Thompson played his college football for Kansas State. He lived in Winnipeg.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Slotbacks Archie Amerson and Mike Morreale signed contract extensions that would see the offensive pair stay in Hamilton for two more seasons.
"These two guys are very important to our offense and our football team," said Tiger-Cats general manager Ron Lancaster. "Both these guys play the slot and both of them catch a lot of balls for us. Getting them signed was a big priority, we're excited to have them locked up."

The Ottawa Renegades football club made another significant signing Thursday, securing receiver Yo Murphy to a one-year contract to return for the 2005 season. The team also inked offensive lineman Jean-François Roy to a one-year deal (plus an option).

Montreal Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp announced today the signings of two explosive young players. Quarterback Robert Kent who starred with the Jackson State Tigers and wide receiver Darrell Jones of the Cal Poly Mustangs will both join the team at training camp this spring.

Longtime Newport football coach dies at age 75

Gene Morrow, who coached Newport football for 45 seasons, died Friday at Samaritan Pacific Hospital in Newport. He was 75.
Morrow arrived at Newport in 1955 and compiled a record of 276-153-4 before retiring in 1999. He ranks third in state history in coaching victories and won 22 league titles.
Morrow graduated from The Dalles High School in 1948 and was the starting quarterback at Oregon State from 1949-51.
He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. at the Newport High School gymnasium.

Ritchie Back in The Canadian Football League with B.C. ?

It appears Dave Ritchie is returning to the left coast.
According to the Vancouver Sun, Ritchie is expected to be hired as the new defensive line coach with the B.C. Lions, replacing Richard Harris.
Ritchie was fired as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers midway through last season and underwent heart bypass surgery shortly after.
"It depends on how things go," Ritchie told the Sun from Winnipeg. "I'd like to be coaching into my 70s."
According to the report, Ritchie will be a part-time coach, beginning a month before training camp and staying on throughout the season.
"That's the position that Wally (Lions head coach Buono) has open," Ritchie told the Sun. "It's what's out there at the moment. You make the best of what you can do."
Ritchie, who guided the Lions to a Grey Cup championship in 1994, is the sixth on the wins list for CFL coaches with 108 victories.
Buono gave Ritchie his first CFL assignment in 1983 when the two worked with the Montreal Alouettes.
The connection between Ritchie and Buono dates to 1983, when the former left West Virginia's Fairmont State College and joined Buono as an assistant coach in Montreal. They spent four years together, and the friendship between the men and their wives grew, even after both coaches moved on and established themselves as the best in their field

Montreal Punter Signs With The Broncos

The Denver Broncos have signed former Colorado University punter Mark Mariscal to a future contract. In addition, the club allocated five players to participate in the 2005 NFL Europe season, including Mariscal, running back Santonio Beard, guard Tyson Clabo, fullback Brandon Miree and defensive tackle D.J. Renteria. Each player’s NFL Europe team will be determined by the league at a later date.
Mariscal, 6-2, 200 pounds, is a first-year player who punted for the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes in 2004 after the New Orleans Saints waived him Aug. 30. A University of Colorado product, Mariscal was waived by the Saints at the end of their 2003 training camp and spent most of his rookie year out of football before signing with the New York Jets’ practice squad Dec. 17, 2003. Mariscal entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with New Orleans on May 2, 2003.
At Colorado, Mariscal was the 2002 recipient of the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter while earning first-team All-American and All-Big 12 honors following a senior year in which he led the nation with 67 punts for 3,186 yards (47.6 avg.). In 40 career games, he punted 105 times for 4,877 yards (46.4 avg.), including 27 punts placed inside the 20-yard line, and was the Buffaloes’ place-kicker in 2000.
A native of Tallahassee, Fla., Mariscal played at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee and earned PrepStar All-American and first-team all-state honors as a senior. Mark Joseph Mariscal was born Sept. 10, 1979, in Tallahassee.

Bombers sign two.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced today that Travis Ortega and Todd Krenbrink will be back for the 2005 season.
Ortega dressed and played against the Edmonton Eskimos on July 30th where he had two defensive tackles and one special team tackles.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers landed a good one when they signed Ortega, Feb. 26, 2003. He came to Winnipeg after two tries in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.
Krenbrink dressed for three games during the season and looks to use his size and ability to work into the regular line up.
The Blue Bombers focused on the offensive line with their first pick in the 2003 Canadian College Draft. The Blue & Gold chose Krenbrink from the Regina Rams in the 3rd Round (22nd Overall) of the draft, held April 30, 2003.

Maas hopes to keep starters job.

The sting of criticism is nothing compared to the aches and pains Jason Maas is feeling within his battered body.
The Edmonton Eskimos quarterback underwent shoulder surgery Dec. 2 - his third major trip under the knife in 10 years. He is hoping for a clean bill of health and maybe even a healthy dose of support when the under-achieving team opens camp in June under new head coach Danny Maciocia.
''This is the hardest part of the year, really,'' said Maas, alone but for two other players in the large but empty Eskimos dressing-room this week. ''It's a solitary feeling - and in a team sport. You're on your own to train.''
Maas, 29, had his shoulder in a sling for five weeks to avoid the buildup of scar tissue. He is slowly moving the joint in hopes of throwing by March and being 100 per cent when camp opens.

''I think our team is very close to being very spectacular and doing some great things,'' he said.
But the pain of last season remains acute. After an 0-3 start, the Eskimos clawed their way to an 9-9 finish before losing their first-round playoff contest to Saskatchewan. Edmonton coach Tom Higgins resigned following a storm of controversy three days later, but has since resurfaced in Calgary as the Stampeders coach and vice-president of football operations.
''There was some restless nights all of last season,'' Maas said. ''Your mind is a dangerous thing at times.''
A native of Yuma, Ariz., Maas had a CFL-record 22 straight completions in a July game against Winnipeg before finishing with 5,270 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, second to Montreal's Anthony Calvillo. Maas became just the second Edmonton quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in a season - Warren Moon was the first.
''People still think I can't play,'' he said. ''Some are wishing Ricky would come back.''
Maas, who also completed the first injury-free 18-game campaign of his five-season career last season, has not been allowed to move on from the constant comparisons to former Eskimos saviour Ricky Ray. Maas replaced Ray, who joined the NFL's New York Jets after leading Edmonton to the 2003 Grey Cup.
Ray spent most of the season on the Jets practice roster but was promoted to the active roster late in the year. He is expected to go to training camp with the NFL team, meaning even if he was cut early it wouldn't be until September before he became available to a CFL team.
Maas says he would not be surprised if the Eskimos tried to sign Ray, his good friend, if Ray became available.
''We talk about it,'' Maas said. ''I'd say everybody (in the CFL) but Montreal and B.C. will bid on him.
''If he comes back up (to Canada), he's going to be here for a while. I know it's going to be hard for me to compete here (if Ray signs). Edmonton will have to decide what to do with me.''
For now, Maas seems to be the No. 1 quarterback in Edmonton.
''We're looking at Jason at quarterback,'' said Eskimos offensive co-ordinator Ron Lancaster Jr., who assumed the job last week and admits he hasn't started making his evaluations. ''To be honest with you I am just happy as heck I found a place to live.
''We haven't really got into the other parts.''
Maas has also had two back operations - at age 19 and 28.
''I feel like I can push pain out of my mind in order to do things,'' Maas said. ''I don't know if I'm ever not in pain, I just deal with it and move on.''
Given that football is a physical game and Maas's medical past, it's likely Maas will feel the effects of playing the game later in his life. But when asked about those consequences, Maas's eyes welled up as he spoke about his father, a police officer who died in the line of duty.
''I'm 29 right now and I have actually outlived my father,'' he said. ''I am living on extended time compared to my father.
''I don't worry about the consequences of playing.''

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

New Candian Football League Uniforms!

The CFL will be sporting a new look in 2005.
The league's nine teams will all be outfitted in redesigned uniforms this season as a result of a five-year merchandise and apparel agreement reached last year with Reebok.
In 2004, Reebok provided the league with a wide array of sideline apparel like coaches' shirts, hats, t-shirts, sweat shirts, track suits and jackets.
According to two league sources requesting anonymity, the jerseys will look sharper and crisper as a result of bigger, thicker numbers and more detailed outlines.

And one team will don different colours in 2005. The sources said the B.C. Lions will wear orange home jerseys instead of black with white lettering. The Lions unveiled an orange uniform in 2003 to celebrate its 50th anniversary and it was very popular with fans.
The CFL will also follow the lead of both the NFL and NHL and have more of its teams using third jerseys this season for special occasions.
The Edmonton Eskimos (Green Bay Packers gold) and Ottawa Renegades (red) will both unveil alternate uniforms this season, joining B.C. (black), Montreal (dark blue), Calgary (black, red, white) and Saskatchewan (black, green).
The Toronto Argonauts will not add an alternate jersey while it's unclear if the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have third jerseys, although there apparently have been discussions for both to add gold uniforms.
The Bombers, celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, are reportedly toying with the idea of wearing white pants with the third jersey.
"Third jerseys have been hugely popular and big-ticket items in the NFL and NHL," said one of the sources. "The CFL is definitely doing this for merchandising purposes and it's also another way to sell your brand to a younger audience."
But fans will have to wait to see their favourite team's uniforms. The new jerseys aren't scheduled for delivery until May 1 and the league is leaving it up to the respective teams to decide when to unveil them.
CFL commissioner Tom Wright declined comment about the third jerseys but he did say during last week's board of governors meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., that the league is looking at different ways to attract a younger audience.
Not surprisingly, the new CFL uniforms will have an NFL look to them. After all, Reebok also outfits all 32 NFL teams.
The Ottawa Renegades' colours will continue to be black, white and red, but their uniforms will have an Atlanta Falcons look to them.
Micki Rivers, the marketing manager for Reebok Canada, wouldn't provide specific details but did say the CFL's new uniforms have been re-designed.
"They have been and they are exciting," she said. "We have an NFL background, which means we have tremendous designers and have a pretty good idea of what does and doesn't appeal to fans.
"I think people will be excited about what they see."
Both sources said the Argonauts haven't decided on a third uniform yet and aren't expected to unveil one until 2007, when they're scheduled to move into a new outdoor stadium on the York University campus.
But the Argos will have a different look this year.
The club has removed teal from its colour pattern - leaving it double blue - and taken the helmeted warrior from its logo, which will now consist of a shield bearing the letter A to be featured on players' helmets. The Argos are also bringing back the old logo of a football, topped by a sail and oars protruding from the lacing.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will also feature a more streamlined tiger on its logo this year as well.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Colorado Crush Sign Darcey Levy.

Aurora native Darcey Levy, who spent time in NFL Europe and also in the Broncos' training camp in 2003 before being released, made the final roster but is on injured reserve.
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Levy played at Montbello High School. The wide receiver and linebacker spent the 2004 season with Calgary and Winnipeg of the CFL.
The Crush

The CFL is looking for a little help from its fans.
The league has launched a contest to find a name for the June 11 exhibition game that will be played in Halifax between the Grey Cup-champion Toronto Argonauts and arch-rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The contest, the first-ever CFL game to be played in Nova Scotia, will be held at Huskies Stadium.
Fans interested in participating in the contest can submit their suggestion on the CFL's website ( The person providing the winning submission will receive a Reebok prize pack valued at $500.
The contest deadline is Wednesday