Canadian Football League

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dinwiddie says he has no contractual obligation to play in Canadian Football League for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Ryan Dinwiddie appears to have emerged as the front-runner in a three-way battle for Sherdrick Bonner's backup at quarterback.He had the best scrimmage last week for the Rattlers against the Los Angeles Avengers and performed well Tuesday against the Kansas City Brigade. Bonner played only sparingly in the two scrimmages so that the Rattlers could take a closer look at Dinwiddie, Nick Rolovich and former Tempe star Todd Mortensen at the position. Rolovich is the only quarterback other than Bonner with Arena football experience.

General Manager and coach Gene Nudo said the Rattlers quarterbacks combined to complete 24 of 34 passes for four touchdowns in the scrimmage with Kansas City. The Rattlers had two workouts with the Brigade in Kansas City on Monday before scrimmaging them on Tuesday. "The quarterbacks stepped up," said Nudo, who has to cut the roster down to 24 by Sunday night. The Rattlers open March 3 at US Airways Center against preseason favorite Georgia Force. He also complimented Mortensen, who went on a two-year church mission, before playing three years at Brigham Young and a year at the University of San Diego. Mortensen said it has been great reuniting with his favorite high school target, receiver Justin Taplin, in camp."We hooked up four times in one drive," Mortensen said. "It was a lot of fun."Dinwiddie, who played his last season at Boise State in 2003, played last summer in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The CFL season starts in June, when the Arena Football League season is winding down. Dinwiddie, who has never played in an Arena game, said he had signed only a one-year contract with an option year with the CFL team. He said he has no more contractual obligations with Winnipeg and doesn't plan on returning to the CFL this summer."I want to stay in the AFL," he said. "This is an excellent situation. I'm in a great organization."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Canadian Football League team signs the son of NFL legend Walter Payton

The son of legendary running back Walter Payton has signed with the Montreal Alouettes.
Jarrett Payton agreed to a one-year deal with Montreal that includes an option.
Like his father, the 26-year-old Payton is a running back and has spent the past three years with the NFL's Tennessee Titans. He appeared in 13 games.
Payton also spent time in NFL Europe with Amsterdam, where he won a championship in 2005 while being named a league all-star.
Walter Payton dominated the NFL with the Chicago Bears between 1975 and 1987. He had 3,838 carries for 16,726 yards and 110 touchdowns.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Former Canadian Football League player named defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers

Ted Cottrell has been named defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers
“Ted is one of the NFL’s most respected defensive minds,” said Head Coach Norv Turner. “And his experience and success with the 3-4 defense will help us maintain continuity on that side of the ball and grow and get better.”
A veteran of 22 seasons as an NFL coach, Cottrell is a proven teacher and leader of winning defenses. His background includes a strong foundation in the 3-4 attacking-style defense that helped the Chargers lead the NFL in sacks in 2006. Since becoming a coordinator in 1998, Cottrell has had seven players record seasons of at least 10 sacks.
“I’m looking forward to working with such a young and talented group of athletes,” said Cottrell. “I enjoy coaching the 3-4, particularly if you have athletes like those here in San Diego. I look forward to helping these players be the best they can be.”
Cottrell is a proven winner who has shown a keen ability to get the most out of his players. In eight seasons as a defensive coordinator, the Chester, Pennsylvania native has been a part of five playoff teams. He’s also coached 10 different players to a total of 16 Pro Bowls.
The 59-year-old Cottrell’s best seasons came during a six-year run with the Buffalo Bills from 1995-2000 that saw the franchise reach the playoffs in four out of his six seasons with the club. The Bills posted a 55-41 record during his tenure and won three AFC East titles. Marv Levy hired Cottrell to coach Buffalo’s linebackers, and in Cottrell’s first season with the Bills, linebacker Bryce Paup led the league with 17.5 sacks and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
In 1998, Cottrell was promoted to defensive coordinator, and in his first season as an NFL play caller, the Bills finished sixth in the NFL in total defense and fifth against the run. Buffalo posted a 10-6 record and advanced to the postseason.
A year later, Cottrell’s unit was the best in the NFL. They led the league in total defense, allowing just 252.8 yards per game. Although Buffalo did not send any defensive players to the Pro Bowl, they finished first against the pass and third against the run. The Bills held their opponents to 21 points or less in 14 of their 16 regular-season contests.
Buffalo followed up with another solid season in 2000, finishing third in total defense, sixth against the run and fourth against the pass. Both nose tackle Ted Washington and linebacker Sam Cowart earned trips to the Pro Bowl at the conclusion of the season.
In 2001, Herman Edwards hired Cottrell as the New York Jets assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. Although the Jets operated out of the “Tampa 2”, 4-3 scheme favored by Edwards, New York finished second in the NFL with 39 takeaways and earned a Wild Card playoff berth. That season, the Jets held opponents to 18 points or less in seven-consecutive games.
After starting the season 1-4, the Jets’ opportunistic defense sparked a turnaround that saw New York return to the playoffs in 2002. Perhaps the best single-game performance of Cottrell’s career came during the Wild Card round of the playoffs that season. Cottrell’s defense intercepted Peyton Manning twice en route to a 41-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Cottrell most recently served as the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings from 2004-05. During his first season on Mike Tice’s staff, Cottrell helped guide second-year standout Kevin Williams to an All-Pro season, finishing the year as the NFL’s leader in sacks among defensive tackles. Minnesota earned a postseason berth and defeated the Green Bay Packers in a Wild Card contest. In 2005, the Vikings finished fifth in the NFL in takeaways with 35.
Prior to joining the Bills in 1995, Cottrell spent five seasons coaching the defensive line and linebackers with the Arizona Cardinals. From 1986-89, he coached the Bills defensive line and oversaw the emergence of defensive end Bruce Smith as one of the NFL’s premiere defensive players. He also coached the defensive line for the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (1984-85) and served two stints as the defensive coordinator at Rutgers University (1980 and 1983). His first NFL job came under Levy as the Kansas City Chiefs linebackers coach from 1981-82.
Cottrell enjoyed a four-year professional playing career. He was a seventh-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1969 and spent two seasons playing linebacker in Atlanta. He concluded his playing career with a two-year stint with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Where are they now? Former Canadian Football League player Ecomet Burley

LA MARQUE — Before he earned his reputation for turning around troubled schools, Ecomet Burley was known for terrorizing opposing offenses on the gridiron.“I was a head-hunter,” Burley said with a big smile on his face.Burley, the new superintendent of La Marque Independent School District, had a dominant career on the football field that saw him become a star in Texas and the Canadian Football League.Red Raider RootsHeading into his senior season at Lufkin High School, Burley was one of the top 100 football recruits in Texas. While not the biggest defensive lineman in the state, he was one of the most explosive players at his position.“My mom kept a box full of letters from schools around the country,” Burley said of the recruiting process. “I was being recruited by schools from the Ivy League, the Southwest Conference and some Big 12 schools. It was a real great experience.”But the more letters Burley received, the more he began to realize Texas Tech was the place for him. “I had so many schools to choose from,” Burley said. “So I prayed and asked God to help me make the right choice. That’s why I ended up at Texas Tech, and it turned out to be a good choice.”It didn’t take long for Burley to make an impact at Texas Tech. He became one of the first Red Raider freshmen to letter in football and was the Most Valuable Lineman in the 1972 Sun Bowl.By the time he was a sophomore, Burley was already an All-Southwest Conference lineman, an honor he received three straight seasons. His senior season, Burley was named a second-team All-American.“I set goals my senior year of high school to be become a college All-American and be one of the best players at my position,” Burley said. “I was fortunate to see all those goals realized while I was at Texas Tech.”His career at Tech eventually earned him a spot in the school’s Hall of Honor.Northern ExposureWhile Burley was a star at defensive tackle for the Red Raiders, he wasn’t the biggest player at the position. That lack of height kept him from being drafted by any National Football League teams following his college career.But Burley wasn’t about to let his dreams of playing professional football end there.“There was no doubt in my mind, that with a little more stature, I could have played in the NFL,” Burley said. “Be that as it may, I decided to go to the Canadian Football League and I had a successful career there.”With a larger playing surface than American football, the CFL featured high-powered spread offenses. CFL rules also made defensive lineman start one yard off the line of scrimmage. Burley was able to use that rule to his advantage.“I ended up having a little space to make a move or two before I came into contact with some of those big lineman,” Burley said. “Because of my size and quickness, that was really good for me.”Burley played in the CFL for six seasons with the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His strong play earned him a spot on the Divisional All-Star team in 1981.But feeling a call to the ministry, Burley decided to retire from football at the peak of his career. He went into the ministry for one year, before coming back to the state and getting into education.No RegretsTwenty-two years after his retirement from the game, Burley still uses many of those lessons as an educator.“Any kind of competitive sport teaches you to set goals and develop a plan,” Burley said. “Football teaches you teamwork, sacrifice and learning to go the extra mile. All of those attributes I still use. That’s also what I want to see in our students and workers.”Burley said he loves his job as an educator. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t ever think what life would have been like had he stayed in football.“In some ways, I’ve wonder what it would have been like if I had gone the coaching route,” Burley said. “I was a student of the game when I was playing it. I still watch and study it today. I think I would have been a good coach, but I am pleased with the way my life turned out.”