Canadian Football League

Friday, December 15, 2006

Charlie Taaffe is returing to the Canadian Football League

Charlie Taaffe is returning to the CFL with the immense task of trying to rebuild the worst team in the league.
Taaffe was named the new head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday. He succeeds Ron Lancaster, who took over on an interim basis early last season after Greg Marshall was fired.
Taaffe will attempt to turn around a team that was a CFL-worst 4-14 last year and missed the CFL playoffs four of the last five seasons.
"I'm excited to return to the CFL," Taaffe said in a statement. ``I am grateful for the opportunity presented to me by the Ticats organization. Preparation for the 2007 season begins immediately and I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead."
Taaffe spent four successful seasons with the Montreal Alouettes from 1997 to 2000. The first two years he was the club's offensive co-ordinator before being promoted to head coach following the '98 season, replacing Dave Ritchie.
Taaffe, 56, led Montreal to consecutive 12-6 records and a berth in the 2000 Grey Cup before losing 28-26 to the B.C. Lions. But the easy-going Taaffe was voted as the CFL's coach of the year in both seasons by members of the Football Reporters of Canada.
"Charlie has been our first choice since we began the search for our next head coach," said Ticats GM Marcel Desjardins. "He has proven himself at every level he has coached at and his track record in the Canadian Football League speaks for itself. I'm very excited to work alongside Charlie as we prepare for next season."
Taaffe resigned as Alouettes coach following the 2000 season to become the offensive co-ordinator at the University of Maryland. He spent five seasons there before stepping down and spent the 2006 campaign as an offensive consultant with the University of Pittsburgh, replacing a staff member who was taking a leave of absence for health reasons. That coach is expected to return to Pittsburgh next season, making Taaffe expendable.
Taaffe's arrival in Hamilton isn't overly surprising. Desjardins worked with Taaffe for two years in Montreal when Desjardins was the Alouettes assistant GM. Shortly after arriving in Hamilton, Desjardins had said Taaffe was a prime candidate for the Ticats' job.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Canadian Football League QB signs in AFL

Dinwiddie sighting
Ryan Dinwiddie will try Arena Football, a game with a pace possibly suited to the former record-setting passer for Elk Grove and Boise State. Dinwiddie has had brief stops -- training camps and/or actual games -- in the NFL and Canadian Football League -- and he was ready to get on with life after football when the Arizona Rattlers called last month.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Canadian Football League All-Star signs with Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Rampage added another seasoned NFL veteran to its offense, signing former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Jerome Davis (Detroit, Mich.). The 6-7, 300-pound University of Minnesota product excelled last season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, earning him a spot on the league’s East Division all-star team. “We’ve had a lot of key signings this offseason, but this is as big as any of them,” said Sparky McEwen, head coach and director of football operations for the Rampage. “Offensive line is the toughest position to play in football and Jerome has used his great athleticism and size to be successful at that position at the NFL level.” Davis spent eight seasons (1997-2004) with the NFL’s Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. The former defensive end earned playing time with the 49ers in 2002 after making the difficult transition to the offensive tackle position. Davis went on to play six games over three seasons (2002-04) with San Francisco before joining the Argonauts for the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Stegall says "yes" to another Canadian Football League season

Milt Stegall is returning to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for another season and another shot at the Grey Cup championship that has eluded him throughout his 12-year career.
The 36-year-old slotback had considered retiring, but said at a news conference Tuesday he believes the Bombers have a chance to go all the way next season. "I think the team is headed in the right direction to make something happen," Stegall said.
"The fact that they brought coach (Doug) Berry in, they brought some talent here, this is the best situation I've been in, in a while."
Stegall also needs just two more touchdowns to break the CFL's all-time mark of 137, shared by George Reed and Mike Pringle.
Stegall remains one of the most dangerous receivers in the CFL, making 79 catches for 1,269 yards and seven TDs last season despite missing four games.
His combination of speed and smarts has impressed Berry, who took over as head coach a year ago.
"Milt knows how to get open," Berry said. "When he gets open, he certainly has plenty enough speed to get the job done."
Stegall was an integral part of the Bombers 9-9 season, which ended in a 31-27 loss to Toronto in the East Division semifinal.
Terms of his contract were not disclosed, although Stegall said money was the least of his concerns.
"The money is not a factor," Stegall said. "If I make $1 million, that $1 million will be gone one day, but if I get a Grey Cup ring, that's something you can't take away from me."
Stegall was leaning toward retiring partly because of his family in Atlanta, including a two-year-old son that has started to notice his father's absences.
"We had to make sure that my mother was able to come down (from Cincinnati) for another year to help out with my son," he said.
Stegall also had to lineup help for a boutique and other businesses which he and his wife operate.
He is almost certain 2007 will be his last year.
"Never say never, but more than likely, this will probably be it." he said. "Me coming back next year, after this year, there's basically no chance of it."
Berry said Stegall's physical conditioning allows him to play like a much younger man.
"I liken Milt to some guy like (former NFL great) Jerry Rice," Berry said.
"Milt is nowhere near finishing. At the end of the season ... I was sitting in the airport with Milt and I said 'Milt, I know you're going home now, I just want you to know where I'm coming from, I do believe that Milt Stegall still has game."'
Stegall joined the Bombers as a free agent in September 1995 and has since played 170 CFL games, all of them with Winnipeg.