Canadian Football League

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gades add to Canadian Football League Training Camp Roster

The Ottawa Renegades Football Club added American offensive lineman Reggie Nelson to the training camp roster Friday. The veteran reported Thursday, passed a physical and was battling with his new teammates on the Kemptville College campus this morning – the eve of the organization’s Black-Whi! te Scrimmage, scheduled for Saturday, June 4 (free admission, open to the public) at 3 p.m.
Nelson, who primarily played tackle while blocking for present Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph during a collegiate career that was highlighted with a first-team All-American selection at McNeese State, comes to Ottawa as a free agent acquisition. He last spent the 2002 season! with the Green Bay Packers.
The 28-year-old native of Alexandria, Louisiana is the second import offensive lineman in the Renegades camp. Nelson joins Steve Burch, a rookie out of Idaho State.
The 6-4, 330-pound Nelson, originally was a fifth-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1999 and was active for four games and inactive for eight others over the '99 and 2000 seasons - seven of those contests as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000.
Prior to joining the Packers, he spent the 2002 NFL Europe League season with the Barcelona Dragons, playing in all 10 games, with two starts, working primarily at left tackle but also seeing action at guard.
Nelson, the 141st player chosen in the 1999 draft, moved between the Chargers' practice squad and 53-man active roster throughout the '99 season and returned to training camp with San Diego in 2000 prior to being released August 23. Signed to the Minnesota practice squad September 6, 2000, he was terminated September 25 and signed to Jacksonville's practice squad September 27.
Nelson subsequently was signed to the Jaguars' 53-man active roster October 24, 2000. Waived November 11, he returned to the Jacksonville practice squad November 14. Terminated November 15, he was re-signed to the 53-man roster the same day. He later was allocated to the NFL Europe League February 12, 2001, and played the '01 season for the Frankfort Galaxy. Nelson returned to training camp with the Jaguars, later was placed on ! waivers September 2, 2001, and was out of football during the regular season.
A member of the National Honour Society in psychology (major at McNeese), Nelson recently finished the academic work needed to finalize his graduate school degree (Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology. A married father of three (Gregory Singleton, Reginald Nelson and Noah Nelson are his child’s names), he has been the head coach of the U.S. national powerlifting team (“Iron Indians”) over the last two years.
2005 Ottawa Renegades Training Camp…
BLACK-WHITE SCRIMMAGE SET FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 4: The annual Black-White scrimmage is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 4. The Renegades will have a short practice followed up by the hard-hitting scrimmage, which is open to the public and free of charge. A player autograph session will be held at the conclusion of the practice

Friday, June 03, 2005

Canadian Football League Team Looks To Re-Build Secondary

Tim Burke is playing a chess game with secondary pieces.
Fourteen different talents are being moved with precision in an attempt to create a defensive masterpiece.
By the start of the CFL season, the Calgary Stampeders defensive backs coach will be ready to call a checkmate. Until then, even third-year veterans such as Joey Boese are pawns in Burke's shuffling.
"I'm starting to get an idea of where guys should play," said Burke, who's in his first year with the Stamps.
"I'm down to about seven or eight guys on who should be starters and then leading on to who should be backups.
"We have to go through the exhibition games, too. Anybody can be good on the practice field -- when it comes to a game, there's pressure, fans, media attention.
"It's a different offence and players are trying to make the other team. Guys have to take it to a new level."
Boese expected another shuffle when he arrived at training camp. In his three CFL seasons, the Wisconsin product has worked under three different secondary coaches.
Each time he's come back from California, the 25-year-old has had to work his way into a position.
During this year's training camp, Boese has lined up at boundary halfback but also has taken reps at free safety.
The position doesn't matter to Boese. He picked off quarterback Henry Burris yesterday playing halfback -- his natural position -- but prefers not to worry about where he shakes down in the secondary.
"You could drive yourself nuts thinking about everybody else," said Boese, who led the Stamps in defensive tackles last season, good enough for second in the league.
"You would never sleep. I just try to worry about myself and do well every practice. It will all fall into place.
"I played halfback last year so I feel comfortable in this scheme playing boundary half.
"As long as I can get to the football and be on the field, I'll be happy."
One of the only DBs who's been stationary all training camp is free-agent pickup Anthony Malbrough at field halfback.
And that's because he missed two days with an injury.
Burke has some tough decisions to make -- he won't be able to keep everybody. Newcomers Jermaine Chatman and Rashard Anderson have caught his eye, while non-import returnee Pascal Masson has really impressed the coach with his athletic ability.
In Denny Creehan's 30 defence, a nickelback is almost never used as a linebacker drops into coverage during passing situations. No more than five DBs will see the field, so backups will need to be versatile on special teams to stick around.
Masson was one of the two gunners on punt coverage last year and proved to be quick downfield.
Burke likes what he is seeing.
"He's having a great camp," Burke said. "He's as athletic as anybody here. People say if Pascal plays, he can change the ratio.
"If Pascal plays, it just means we have him playing because he's a good player."
The best-looking newcomer is Anderson, who's been out of football for two years after being suspended from the NFL for violating the substance-abuse policy.
Burke said Anderson has shaken off the rust and steadily improved each day.
The former NFL first-round pick feels mentally fine but his body isn't cooperating through 10 practices.
"I surprised myself. I came in doing pretty good," Anderson said. "If I did get a little frustrated, it was because I did get a little sore.
"I don't know if I'm any worse than anybody else but it sure felt like it."
Another player that could be added to the mix is non-import safety Stephane Fortin, who was released Wednesday by the Montreal Alouettes. Head coach Tom Higgins said the team has already put in a call to the 30-year-old to discuss coming to Calgary.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Former Canadian Football League Player Gives Coaching a try

Forgive Dave Arnold if his boss, Erie Freeze coach and general manager Mike Esposito, is not yet his top coaching influence.Arnold, the new Erie Freeze assistant coach, played football for titans at the college and professional levels. Arnold, who officially joined Esposito's staff last week, was an All-American cornerback at Michigan and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989.That meant he felt the fiery wrath of Bo Schembechler and the stern glare of Chuck Noll. Was his football fate worth it?You bet."I learned a lot from coach Schembechler," said Arnold, who will help Erie's defense in the pass-happy Atlantic Indoor Football League. "Coach Noll was a true disciplinarian, too. He didn't say much, but he didn't have to. He let his assistants like 'Mean'Joe Greene and (current Carolina Panthers coach) John Fox do that." Arnold gets his turn tonight, when the Freeze (4-1) host the Raleigh Rebels (1-2) at Tullio Arena. Game time is 7:05 p.m.Arnold spent three years in the NFL with the Steelers and Houston Oilers and three more with the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger Cats. He hopes the experience he gleaned from the upper echelon of pro football can help players with the Freeze and at Gannon, where he is in his second season as secondary coach.Arnold started his college coaching career at Central Connecticut State in 1999 before he was hired by Golden Knights coach Bill Elias. Esposito approached the Warren, Ohio, native about joining the Freeze over the winter, though both knew they'd have to wait for NCAA clearance to make it official."Dave's an outstanding addition and his ties to Gannon could be a great connection for us," Esposito said. "Coach Elias has had some great players over there. I'll go over there and bronze the 'G' at Gannon if we keep getting players like Darmel Whitfield and Eugene Padgett."Whitfield and Padgett, along with wide receiver Vince Austin, signed with the Freeze after their college careers ended last season. Padgett, a defensive back at Gannon, had the closest relationship with Arnold. "I thought we were going to be one year and done," Padgett said of his former and current coach. "Really, I appreciate that he's here because he's helped me a lot. He's been there, done that as far as the (professional) aspect of football."Which isn't to say Arnold will play favorites for those with Gannon backgrounds. "Actually," he said, "now I can be tougher on the (former Gannon) guys over here as far as discipline and getting on them. If they're not doing the little things, they're going to find out it's even harder. Not many mistakes can be made when you're a pro, especially here with the field being so small."Arnold isn't sure how long his tenure with the Freeze will last, but he hopes for more than just a cameo this summer. Along with learning indoor football's nuances from Esposito, he's also peppered Freeze co-owners Dave Hodas and Brian Fisher about the business aspect of the sport."I'm thankful coach Elias has let me do this," Arnold said. "He just wants me back to (Gannon's) training camp by early August. It's perfect because the AIFL season ends in July."July 30, to be exact. That's the date of the league's first championship game, less than a week before the Golden Knights start training camp. Arnold wouldn't mind such a short summer vacation.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Canadian Football League player in court

A woman has testified that her former fiance, B.C. Lions linebacker Chris Hoople, knocked her off a chair, dragged her across a room until her head hit a wall and threw her against a door.
Hoople is charged with common assault in an alleged incident on November 22, a day after the Lions returned from the Grey Cup game in Ottawa.
The woman, whose name is the subject of a publication ban, told the court the assault was sparked by a conversation about money. (The Province)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Canadian Football League kicker retires

Ottawa Renegades kicker Sandro Sciortino, who had his CFL season cut short last year by testicular cancer, retired Saturday.
The 26-year-old native of Markham, Ont., now cancer-free, said his decision had nothing to do with his health.
''I am physically fine,'' he said. ''I just feel at this time I need some time away from football to figure things out.''
Sciortino played five seasons at Boston College before he was drafted by Calgary 12th overall in the 2003 Canadian College Draft. He was the Renegades' kicker for the first 14 games of 2004 and hit a pair of game-winning field goals.
''I've still been training hard and kicking hard and if my heart is not into it, I am not going to pursue it - it's not fair,'' Sciortino said. ''I need some time to figure out what I want from life.''

Matt Kellett and Pat Fleming will handle Ottawa's kicking and punting duties, respectively.
Also Saturday, the defending CFL champion Toronto Argonauts signed linebacker Jeffrey Bonelli of Windsor, Ont., as well as defensive back Derek Combs and offensive tackle Jerome Davis.
Bonelli, 23, is a graduate of the University of Windsor, where the six-foot-one, 230-pound former Ontario rookie of the year also spent time as team captain.
Combs, 26, a seventh-round pick by Oakland in the 2001 NFL draft, arrives in Toronto from NFL Europe where he played with Amsterdam last season. He's spent time in the NFL with Oakland, Tennessee, Miami, Green Bay and Kansas City.
The 31-year-old Davis appeared in two games with San Francisco in the NFL last season. He's also played for Detroit, Denver and Frankfurt of NFL Europe, and suited up for two games with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders in 2000.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed defensive end Fred Perry and kicker Kyle Robinson, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed quarterback Russ Michna, running back Marvin Townes, linebacker Scott Mennie and released quarterback Stanley Jackson.
The Edmonton Eskimos cut offensive lineman Amar Sanghera and defensive lineman Corey Trudeau, placed defensive back Tay Cody on the suspended list and added linebacker Jacoby Shepherd to the disabled list.