Canadian Football League

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bombers add to Canadian Football League roster

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers acquired cornerback Omar Evans from the Calgary Stampeders for future considerations on Friday.
"We are very happy to add an experienced person of Omar's ability to our team," said Bombers general manager Brendan Taman.

"He's a very smart person that plays the game at a high level of intensity. We feel like he'll fit quite nicely into our defensive scheme."
After spending the 2003 season in Montreal, the 28-year-old American-born Evans registered 19 tackles, one quarterback sack and one fumble recovery in nine games with the Stampeders last season.
In 2003, Evans played in 15 regular-season games for the Alouettes and made 42 tackles, seven pass knockdowns, two tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery and two interceptions.
The season before that he made 22 tackles and one interception in 12 games with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He made his CFL debut in 2001 with the Riders.
Also on Friday, the Bombers signed un-drafted Canadian lineman Jean-Francois Ostiguy.
Ostiguy spent four seasons with the Laval Rouge et Or, and was a Canadian Interuniversity Sport second-team all-star the past two years. He also helped the school to back-to-back Vanier Cup championships in 2003 and 2004.
"We are pleased to add a quality, non-import offensive lineman of Jean-Francois' ability after the draft," said Taman.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Former Canadian Football League Great Elected To College Football Hall Of Fame

From the national ballot of 75 candidates and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Jon F. Hanson, Chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2005 College Football Hall of Fame Division I-A Class, which includes former Illinois All-American wide receiver David Williams. Williams becomes the 16th Illinois player or coach selected for the Hall and the first since defensive back Al Brosky was inducted in 1998. The 2005 College Football Hall of Fame Division I-A Class will be inducted at the 48th Annual Awards Dinner on December 6, 2005, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. They will be officially enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., during ceremonies in August of 2006.
One of the greatest wide receivers of all-time, Illinois' Williams (1983-85) finished his collegiate career as the second-leading receiver in NCAA history with 245 receptions and 3,195 receiving yards in only 33 games.
Collecting numerous records and awards, Williams was the only two-time unanimous First Team All-America on the 2005 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. In 1984, he led the nation with a Big Ten-record 101 receptions, becoming only the second player in NCAA history to surpass the 100-reception mark in a single-season. In 1986, Williams was named Illinois Athlete of the Year and participated in the Japan Bowl.
The holder of every Illinois receiving record, Williams twice earned First Team All-Conference recognition and team MVP honors. In 1983, he led the Fighting Illini to their first Big Ten title in 20 years. Following two seasons in the NFL, Williams flourished in the Canadian Football League where he earned All-Star status five times and was named league MVP in 1988. He currently works in sales and lives in Cardena, Calif.
2005 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASSPLAYERS• Cornelius Bennett - LB, Alabama, 1983-86• Tom Curtis - DB, Michigan, 1967-69• Anthony Davis - RB, Southern California, 1972-74• Keith Dorney - OT, Penn State, 1975-78• Jim Houston - E, Ohio State, 1957-59• John Huarte - QB, Notre Dame, 1962-64• Roosevelt Leaks - FB, Texas, 1972-74• Mark May - OT, Pittsburgh, 1977-80• Joe Washington - RB, Oklahoma, 1972-75• Paul Wiggin - DT, Stanford, 1954-56• David Williams - WR, Illinois, 1983-85

Canadian Football League QB stays!

After losing out in the Ricky Ray sweepstakes, the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats called the Edmonton Eskimos about Jason Maas's availability.
The Eskimos replied No Maas, No Maas.
Two sources confirmed the teams called on Monday -- the same day Edmonton announced Ray's signing -- but the Eskimos indicated they have no interest in trading the quarterback.
Maas is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and doesn't have medical clearance to formally work out, but the Eskimos are confident he will recover, the sources said. The Eskimos think the duo of Maas and Ray provide the team with depth at quarterback, similar to B.C., which has Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers.
Ray re-signed with the Eskimos following a year in the National Football League with the New York Jets. The Eskimos outbid the Argos and the Tiger-Cats with a deal that will reportedly make him the highest-paid player in the Canadian Football League, collecting $460,000 a year.
The Tiger-Cats attempted to sign Ray, but dropped out when the bidding became too high. Some fans on the Tiger-Cats' website,, have been critical of the team's off-season player inactivity compared to last year's wheeling and dealing. Owner Bob Young has been addressing the fans' concerns, including the suggestion he is "cheap."
"All organizations have to stay focused on the primary objective," he said in one response. "In the Ticats' case, it's winning a championship. Every nickel we save on something non-critical to success is a nickel that can be used on something important. Now imagine paying a quarterback over $400,000? Just think for a second about what that much money can buy."
Danny McManus is slated to be the Tiger-Cats' starter again, although he has been the subject of off-season criticism by some fans. And when the Tiger-Cats made a pitch for Doug Flutie, it had a negative impact on McManus's reputation, which is why the Tiger-Cats pursued Ray without fanfare. But word is the Tiger-Cats will be working out a quarterback prospect and may announce a signing before training camp begins May 29.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The "Bucks" okay in The Canadian Football League

CRESCENT CITY -- Never underestimate perseverance.
Just three weeks ago, former Del Norte Warrior and New Mexico State Aggies quarterback Buck Pierce found himself sitting on his couch for two days and seven rounds of the 2005 NFL draft with his playing future hanging in the balance.
After being bypassed by 32 teams and not hearing his name called as one of 255 drafted players, Pierce was faced with the real possibility that his dreams of a professional career may very well have ended.
Not so fast.
The former Big Five and most recently Sun Belt Conference standout has agreed to a three-year contract with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. The deal includes an option for Pierce to renegotiate with the Lions in its final year.
"I was looking for a deal that would provide me with security as well as some options," Pierce said. "I feel good about having signed."

Although his ultimate dream of playing on Sundays on the biggest stages in football, Pierce is by no means disappointed.
"Everyone wants the NFL and NFL money, but the CFL was something that had been in the back of my mind," he said. "Now I'm going to have an opportunity to see the world and play football. I'm just thankful that everything worked out the way it did for me."
Despite the fact that the pageantry and fanfare may not be as prevalent to the north as that of the NFL, the former Warrior and Aggie sees the glass as being half full.
"The dimensions of a playing field in Canada are different (65 yards wide and 110 yards long compared to 54 and 100 in the NFL), but I feel that fits my style of play well," Pierce said. "It's a throwing man's game in Canada, and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Although happy with his ultimate decision to pursue a career north of the border, Pierce endured a rollercoaster of emotions along the way, particularly in going through a series of NFL rookie minicamps with various teams.
"It was a little disheartening knowing that even though teams liked what they saw as far as my ability, it still came down to a numbers game," Pierce said. "I'm a person who puts everything into whatever it is that I am doing on or off a football field though, so now I just have to jump in with both feet and show what I can do."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

B.C. adds another QB to Canadian Football League Roster

The B.C. Lions extended wide receiver Paris Jackson's contract and signed free-agent quarterback Buck Pierce on Monday.
Jackson, a six-foot-three, 190-pound native of North Vancouver had just 10 catches for 138 yards last season. He was selected sixth overall by the Lions in the 2003 draft out of the University of Utah.
"We felt we wanted to give Paris the opportunity to be a bigger part of our football club," said Lions head coach and general manager Wally Buono. "We feel Paris has worked hard and has a lot to offer now."
Pierce, a six-foot-one, 185-pound Californian, had 16 TD passes and 2,253 completion yards last season as New Mexico State University's starting quarterback.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Could be a Canadian Football League Quarter-back shuffle

Jason Maas is more concerned about his health than Ricky Ray.
Maas, the starting quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos last season, is not medically cleared to play football following off-season surgery on his throwing shoulder. He attended but did not compete in the Damon Allen Quarterback Challenge in support of the Kids Help Phone yesterday at York University.
"I'm still throwing and stuff, but I fear coming out here and trying to pump it up," Maas said.
Winnipeg's Spergon Wynn took the competition winning two of four events. Teammate Kevin Glenn and Saskatchewan's Nealon Greene each won one event. Greene won the longest throw, heaving it 73 yards.
With two weeks to go before training camp, Maas figured he's close to 75% fully recovered in his rehabilitation.
"I'll progressively get it better," he said. "I'll be close during camp. I'll be able to make all the throws, just not with the same velocity that I normally do. It's going to take some time, but I'll be alright."
Maas is aware that Ricky Ray, who replaced him as the Eskimos' starter midway through the 2002 season and all the way through 2003, is considering a return to the Canadian Football League after a season in the National Football League with the New York Jets. The Eskimos attempted unsuccessfully to sign Ray to a long-term deal in 2003, offering him about $300,000 a season, but he wanted to try the NFL.
Ray asked for his release earlier this month, realizing he didn't have a realistic chance to play with the Jets and is now surveying the football landscape. The Eskimos, along with the Argos, are believed to be the two teams in the CFL that will make him the best offer, and Edmonton offers familiarity.
"It's a good fit for him, but financially whether Edmonton comes up with as good an offer, it's hard to say," Maas said.
He and his agent reportedly are looking for an offer similar to B.C.'s Dave Dickenson, who is the highest-paid player in the league at roughly $450,000 a season. If Ray signs with Edmonton it impacts Maas, notwithstanding how well his shoulder holds up.
"If they're going to pay him what's reported, it's hard to sit a guy like that on the bench," Maas said. "I'll have to deal with it, but until then I'm just worried about getting ready for camp and getting healthy. If I have to compete, I have to compete. It will be up to Edmonton whether I do that or not."
Rumours persist that if the Eskimos sign Ray, they will trade Maas, likely East to either Hamilton or Toronto.
Hamilton starting quarterback Danny McManus isn't too concerned about the Tiger-Cats' pursuit of other pivots.
"The only thing you can control is what happens on the field," McManus said.
They made a pitch for Doug Flutie, who signed with the New England Patriots, and are interested in Ray, although sources indicate they have concerns about the cost.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

One out of The Canadian Football League Quarter-back derby

It looks as if the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are about to drop out of the Ricky Ray sweepstakes.
Word has it that the Tiger-Cats have lost interest in pursuing the free-agent quarterback because of the cost -- likely $400,000-$450,000 a season -- and concerns about inflating their payroll.
According to sources, the Tiger-Cats were willing to pay Doug Flutie $250,000, with another $250,000-$500,000 coming from sponsors or companies. Flutie ended up signing with the New England Patriots.
It is believed only Toronto and Edmonton will make serious bids to sign Ray, who played with the Eskimos in 2002 and 2003. He led the Eskimos to a Grey Cup win in 2003.
If the Esks sign Ray -- they are considered the front-runner -- expect the Esks to trade Jason Maas most likely to Hamilton or Toronto. The Esks might prefer dealing with Hamilton to spite Toronto.
Maas lost his job to Ray because of a back injury that subsequently required surgery. He started all of the Eskimos games last year but required off-season shoulder surgery. He reportedly is fully recovered.
The Ticats are looking at upgrading their quarterbacking but are trying to be low-key lest it damage the reputation of incumbent starting quarterback Danny McManus.
The Argos are looking for help at quarterback, partially because Damon Allen is 41 and has been hurt the past two years and there is uncertainty about his backup, Michael Bishop. He may not report for his option year because his current team, the Arena league's Grand Rapids Rampage, has offered a four-year deal.
"We'll be happy to have him back," coach Pinball Clemons said this week. "If that isn't the case, we're going to be happy for Michael Bishop because ultimately that's going to make us a better team as well. If being here isn't best for him, it's not best for us, either."