Canadian Football League

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Canadian Football League issues statement

Following today's announcement of a trade between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Canadian Football League issued the following statement:
"On the basis of public and media speculation surrounding the rumoured player trade, the Commissioner's office intervened to ensure that an announcement was not made prior to the League receiving and fully examining the details of the transaction.
That review is now complete and it has been determined that the trade announced today was not part of any future considerations arrangement from the October 5th transaction between the two clubs, and that both Edmonton and Hamilton have complied with League policies pertaining to player transfers."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Long awaited Canadian Football League trade finally done

Edmonton Eskimos general manager Paul Jones on Friday traded Maas and a 2006 sixth-round draft pick to Hamilton for veteran pivot Danny McManus, offensive lineman Tim Bakker, defensive back Imokhai Atogwe and a first-round pick in the 2006 CFL Canadian College Draft.
Maas, the subject of trade rumours throughout the season, will assume the starting role in Hamilton from the 40-year-old McManus

Riders stick with first Canadian Football League black general manager

The first black general manager in professional football is staying put.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have decided to retain the services of Roy Shivers, who is also the team's director of football operations.

Roy Shivers is staying put as general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (CP Photo)
There was some question following the CFL season whether Shivers would remain with the club. The team fell below expectations with a 9-9 record and the lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Montreal Alouettes.
There was also the very public late-season arrest of linebacker Trevis Smith on sexual assault charges. The RCMP made the rare move of revealing that Smith is HIV-positive. They allege Smith knowingly exposed a British Columbia woman to the virus and did not tell her about his condition, and they felt a public warning was necessary in this case.
Despite those issues, the club issued a statement Thursday that said its board met to review the 2005 season and unanimously supposed Shivers' year-end report and his recommendations for the 2006 campaign.
"Roy has shown us a plan," team chairman Graham Barker was quoted as saying on the Roughriders team website. "We are very pleased with what we have been presented and have every confidence that with the addition and deletion of certain aspects of the team make-up this off-season, that this organization as a whole will be better off and once again in contention for a championship."
Shivers has one more year remaining on his contract with the Roughriders.
Under Shivers' leadership, the Roughriders have compiled a 48-59-1 overall record. Saskatchewan has made the playoffs the past four years and twice reached the West Division final, but it has never finished higher than third in the West Division and hasn't hosted a playoff game since 1988.
Shivers' road to his football post is one of breaking down barriers. When he was hired by the team in 1999, he vowed to bring equality to the game he loves.
He sent a clear message to the league by bringing in former CFL quarterback Danny Barrett to lead the team on the field. Barrett had been an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders.
"I hired a qualified coach and he happened to be black, and I wanted him to be black. We never get these chances. I'm in a position where I can finally do it," said Shivers.
"If I don't do it, who's gonna do it?"
Shivers was born in 1941 in the segregated world of Hally, Arkansas and was one of eight children.
"My father taught me that, 'Hey, never forget where you came from. If you get your foot in the door, you help somebody,' he said."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

AFL team signs former Canadian Football League player

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Arena Football League's Columbus Destroyers announced today they have signed former Bowling Green quarterback Josh Harris.Harris is among six signings that bring the Destroyers training camp roster to the league maximum 37 players.
Harris, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound native of Westerville, spent this past N-F-L training camp with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2004 and also has played with Calgary of the C-F-L.
The Destroyers open their season on January 29th.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Edmonton are Canadian Football League Champs

It was Ricky Ray's day and one of the Edmonton Eskimos' most spectacular Grey Cup wins.
Ray threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and helped set up Sean Fleming's 36-yard field goal in the second round of overtime to give the Eskimos a thrilling 38-35 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday.
Pulled from Edmonton's previous two playoff wins in favour of backup Jason Maas, Ray played the entire game as the Eskimos claimed their second Grey Cup title in three years and 13th overall.
"It's been a tough last month for me," said Ray. "Everywhere I looked, it seemed that people were saying I shouldn't be playing.
"Last night at our hotel, I heard the local anchor man say they should play Jason Maas. It was hard to stay positive. But my team supported me and Jason supported me, and to go out win was like the cherry on top."
It was just the second Grey Cup decided in overtime - the other was Winnipeg's 21-14 win over Hamilton at Toronto in 1961 - and made for some high drama as control of the game swung repeatedly from Edmonton, to Montreal and back.
In overtime, Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo hit Dave Stala for a touchdown only to see Ray connect with Jason Tucker. In OT, both teams try to score from the 35 until one team takes a lead.
Edmonton got a field goal on its second OT try, but on Montreal's last chance, Calvillo was charged with making an illegal double pass (his first attempt hit a player and bounced back into his hands).
Then he was sacked and then he failed to get the first down, prompting the Eskimos to swarm onto the field in triumph.
"They got the field goal and it was like the wheels fell off," said Calvillo, who completed 29 passes for 361 yards. "A dumb mistake on my part with the double pass. It went downhill from there.
"It hurts more with it probably being my best (Grey Cup) game throwing-wise, but it's still very painful not walking away with victory."
The Eskimos took the rubber match of three meetings with Montreal in the last four Grey Cups - with Montreal winning in 2002 and Edmonton taking the 2003 championship.
Of the three, this was clearly the most entertaining, with end to end action in the fourth quarter and OT that had a sellout crowd of 59,157 at B.C. Place at fever pitch.
"That's the CFL, exciting football at its best, but it's a very difficult way to lose," said Montreal's Don Matthews, whose bid to become the first head coach with six Grey Cup wins fell short.
Ray was named the game's outstanding player after going 35 of 45 for 359 yards and two touchdowns. Saskatoon native Mike Maurer, who had four catches for 41 yards, was named top Canadian.
"I can barely fathom it," said Maurer, who signed with Edmonton this season after three years in Ottawa. "I just wanted to contribute."
It also made a Grey Cup champion of Edmonton's rookie head coach Danny Maciocia, a Montreal native who started out in the Alouettes organization.
Maciocia, who ran out onto the field grinning from ear to ear when Ray put his team ahead in the dying minutes, fell to his knees and wept at the bench when it was over. He was the seventh CFL head coach to win a title on his first try.
"It's always been my dream to be a CFL head coach," he said. "I'm proud to be a Canadian, a Quebecer, a Montrealer, and to win a Grey Cup in my first year as head coach, but the message is, Canadians are capable of doing this job," he said.
The dying minutes were even more dramatic than the OT, as Montreal's Damon Duval tied the game at 28-28 on the final play of regulation time with a 27-yard field goal.
Montreal had looked to have the game won moments earlier when Edmonton was stalled at the Als' 50 on third and four. Ray then lofted the ball 35 yards to Derrell Mitchell with what Maciocia called "a perfect, tight spiral pass."
Two pass interference calls and a no-gain later, Ray plunged across the line from the one. He then completed a crucial two-point conversion to Tucker for a 28-25 lead with 1:03 remaining.
Before the frenetic final minutes and overtime, the game was marked by dazzling kick returns by Montreal's Ezra Landry and Edmonton's Tony Tompkins, who set a Grey Cup record with a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter.
Ed Hervey also had a TD while Fleming booted two other field goals for Edmonton.
Eric Lapointe, who had three TDs in an East Division final win in Toronto last week, added two more in the championship game.
"It's really disappointing to finish this way when we were so close to having a ring on our finger," said Lapointe, who will ponder retirement this winter. "Just one or two plays in the game made the difference.
"If I'm done with the game, I'm proud to be an Alouette."
Calvillo faked to Lapointe and carried one in himself in the fourth quarter. Duval added a second field goal and a single.
Prime Minister Paul Martin and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean were among the sellout crowd, which appeared evenly split between supporters of the two teams.
The late scoring frenzy came after a deathly quiet first half in which defences dominated and Edmonton took a 10-1 lead.
But Montreal made its adjustments while the Black Eyed Peas were entertaining the audience and picked up 17 points in the third quarter.
After making good on a third-one gamble, a 33-yard pass to Ben Cahoon put the ball on the one and Lapointe ran it in 3:46 into the second half.
The Eskimos answered back with a long possession capped by Fleming's 35-yard field goal at 10:56 to go ahead 13-8.
But Landry's 40-yard kickoff return followed by Sylvain Girard's 44-yard catch at the Edmonton five set up Lapointe's one-yard TD plunge at 11:57 for Montreal's first lead of the game at 15-13.
A Troy Davis fumble was then recovered by Mathieu Proulx at the Edmonton 12, setting up a 13-yard Duval field goal.
But Tompkins, who this week guaranteed he would return a kick for a TD, ran back the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to put the Eskimos back on top 20-18 going into the final quarter.
Matthews said losing three starters to injury during the game - safety Richard Karikari, middle linebacker Jeremiah Garrison and fullback Mike Vilimek - had weakened the kick coverage team.
The first half was marked by two Montreal turnovers, Ray's first TD pass in eight games and Hervey's first TD reception of the season.
Ray, who last threw for a TD on Sept. 24 against British Columbia, hit Hervey near the sidelines with a nine-yard scoring pass at 3:49 of the second quarter.
Ball control was Edmonton's strength in the opening 30 minutes, as Ray used short passes, mainly to Trevor Gaylor and Mitchell, and some timely runs from Troy Davis to move the ball.
Former Eskimo Terry Vaughn was stripped of the ball by Donny Brady and A.J. Gass recovered at the Montreal 41 on the Alouettes' first possession and seven plays later, Fleming made good on an 18-yard field goal 6:57 into the game.
A Duval punt rolled into the end zone for a single at 14:42. Midway through the second quarter, Duval missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
The Alouettes, held to one yard on the ground in the first half, threatened late in the half when Calvillo completed five straight passes, but it ended with a Shannon Garrett interception.
Lapointe came alive in the second half, picking up 46 yards overall while Davis had 68, each with 11 carries.
Notes - It was Montreal's 14th Grey Cup game and their 11th against the Eskimos, who lead the series 8-3. The Eskimos are now 13-9 in Grey Cups. . . . Head linesman Don Cousens left after the first half with a knee injury and was replaced by Ross Saunders.