Canadian Football League

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Canadian Football League clamps down on rules

CFLers beware - pulling a magazine, or any other foreign object, out from the goalpost padding to celebrate a touchdown is going to be costly this year.
Any player caught bringing a foreign object onto the field will automatically receive a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty and face ejection, one of several new rule changes for the 2005 season announced by the league Friday.
The rule is a result of the antics by Winnipeg Blue Bombers kick-returner Keith Stokes, who pulled out a magazine hidden in a goalpost and pretended to read it after scoring a touchdown in a 20-13 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Oct. 8, 2004.
The CFL is seeking to stamp out the type of flamboyant touchdown celebrations seen in the NFL, like Terrell Owens pulling a marker out from his sock to sign a football for his agent after scoring; and Joe Horn grabbing a cellphone from the goalpost and pretending to make a call.

The CFL's board of governors, who met Thursday in Toronto, also instituted a new penalty for spitting at an opponent - automatic ejection plus a loss of 25 yards.
There was no specific rule against spitting in recent years and it would be called under objectionable conduct and only cost the offending player's team 10 yards.
The lives of cornerbacks are also about to get tougher, as officials can now call illegal contact on a receiver on forward passes deemed uncatchable. In recent years, no call would be made on a back if he interfered with a receiver but the referee felt he wouldn't have caught the ball regardless.
Other changes:
- Shoes must be of a standard football design and not be altered;
- An official can send a player off the field if he is bleeding significantly. He will not be allowed to return until the cut has been dressed;
- On kicking plays, a team with only 11 players on the field can have a player enter the field and participate in the play without being penalized;
- Eligible receivers must wear numbers from 0-49 and 70-00, while ineligible receivers must wear numbers from 50-69.
The league also appointed Tom Robinson as chairman of its board of governors. The former Saskatchewan Roughriders president was unanimously elected to succeed Paul Robson, who served as chairman the past two years.
"I'm excited to be taking on this new role at the CFL Board level," Robinson said in a statement. "This league has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years and I look forward to further working with the board, the league and its member clubs to ensure its continued success."

Friday, April 15, 2005

Roberts looking to finish career in Canadian Football League

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made sure pint-sized running back Charles Roberts will be wreaking havoc on opposing CFL teams for at least a few more seasons.
Roberts, Winnipeg's most outstanding player in 2004, signed a multi-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Running back Charles Roberts will stick with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the next few seasons. (CP File Photo)
"Locking in a player of Charles's ability for the long term is a great benefit for the ball club, for Charles and for the fans," Blue Bombers general manager Brendan Taman said in a news release.
"His long-term commitment to us is a great gesture and we are excited to have him with the team for years to come."
Roberts played in all 18 regular-season contests with the Blue Bombers last year, rushing for 1,522 yards on 300 carries with eight rushing touchdowns.
Roberts, despite his five-foot-six-inch, 171-pound frame, was also a threat in the air, catching 53 passes for 398 yards and five touchdowns.
The fourth-year CFLer also excels on special teams. Last season, Roberts had three punt returns for 28 yards and four kickoff returns for 84 yards.
Elsewhere, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed three non-import players on Wednesday – defensive back Conor Healey, offensive lineman Anthony Mason and defensive tackle Gonzalo Segovia.
All three contracts are for one year plus an option

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bombers trade for experienced Canadian Football League Quarterback

The Blue Bombers will be well-armed when training camp opens next month with the addition of quarterback Spergon Wynn.
Wynn, 26, was acquired today in a trade with the B.C. Lions that saw the Bombers send a conditional pick in the 2006 CFL Draft to their western counterparts.
He will join incumbent QBs Kevin Glenn, Stanley Jackson and Tee Martin when camp begins May 28.
"Spergon brings CFL experience, NFL experience and NFL Europe experience to the table," Bombers head coach Jim Daley said.
"He played very effectively with B.C. the last few seasons, including a playoff start in 2003. We think he'll be a great addition to our offence and our team."
Wynn, 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, dressed for 15 games during the 2004 season, throwing for 268 yards on 21 completions with the Leos. He dressed for all 18 regular season games in 2003, including one start, going 46-for-65 and 626 yards and four TDs.
Prior to joining the Lions, Wynn was on the Minnesota Vikings roster in 2002 but did not see any game action. He started two games for the Vikes in 2001 following a trade from the Cleveland Browns, including a 24-of-39 effort against the Green Bay Packers that saw him complete a 47-yard TD pass to tight end Byron Chamberlain.
Wynn was a seventh round pick of Cleveland in the 2000 NFL draft. He appeared in seven games for the Browns that season, including one start, and completed 22 of 55 passes for 167 yards and one interception.
He had one of his best pro seasons as a member of the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 2001. He completed a league-high 193 passes on 337 attempts for 2,041 yards and 14 TDs. He also rushed for 110 yards.
A native of Houston, Wynn was an economics major at Southwest Texas State, where he still ranks among the school's best ever passes with 3,497 yards.

Hamilton signs veteran Canadian Football League player

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club is excited to announce the signing of import defensive end James Cotton to a one-year (plus an option) contract.
“Losing last year's sack leader, Tim Cheatwood, was tough for us. However, with Cotton and Joe Montford lining up at our end spots this year we believe that we can bring the same kind of pressure and play the same aggressive style up front again,” said Tiger-Cats head coach Greg Marshall. “Cotton has a lot of experience in the CFL and NFL, and we expect him to make an impact from day one.”
The 6'2”, 245-pound defensive end has played 23 career CFL games, recording 73 tackles and 10 quarterback sacks, all with the Calgary Stampeders in 2001 and 2002. His nine sacks in 2001 were fifth-highest in the CFL that season. During Calgary's 2001 run to the Grey Cup, Cotton recorded two defensive tackles and two sacks in the West Division Final in Edmonton, then added a sack and two defensive tackles in Calgary's Grey Cup win over Winnipeg.
Cotton, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, was released by the NFL's Atlanta Falcons last March after spending time between their practice roster and 53-man roster in 2003. Prior to rejoining Calgary in 2002, Cotton had a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL, but was released after training camp.
After two impressive years at Ohio State University, the Chicago Bears selected Cotton in the seventh round (223rd overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. Cotton attended the Bears' training camp and was released prior to the start of the regular season. Before beginning his CFL career, Cotton played three games for the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL.

Canadian Football League champions keeping team together

The Toronto Argonauts signed former NFL lineman Bernard Williams to a contract extension on Monday.
The 6-foot-9, 290-pound Williams, a first round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994, started 14 games for the Argonauts last season, including 13 at left tackle.
"Bernard really raised his level throughout the year in 2004," said Toronto offensive line coach Ken Miller. "He demonstrated great leadership ability, especially in the playoffs and in the Grey Cup; it rubbed off on the offensive line and the entire offense. Bernard is a premiere player and I'm pleased to have the chance to work with him for an extended period."
Williams played collegiately at Georgia.