Canadian Football League

Friday, December 18, 2009

Former Canadian Football League Player Sentenced To More Than 31 Years In Jail

Ex-NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been sentenced to more than 31 years in prison in total for attacking his girlfriend and, in a separate incident, driving his car into three teens.

Phillips, 34, was sentenced Friday in San Diego for assault and other crimes.

Phillips told the judge he didn't get a fair trail and he'll appeal.

Phillips twice choked his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego. Later that year, he aimed his car and struck three teens after a pickup football game in Los Angeles.

A Los Angeles judge gave him 10 years for that attack but he was re-sentenced to seven years on Friday.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. The St. Louis Rams selected him sixth overall in the 1996 draft but released him the following year due to insubordination.

After stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the Montreal Alouettes in 2002 and contributed to their Grey Cup win that season, but was released the next year for behavioural reasons.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Argos Looking For New Canadian Football League Head Coach

The search for the 41st head coach in Toronto Argonauts history was in full swing Monday following the dismissal of Bart Andrus after the Canadian Football League team's 3-15 record this season.

"We would like to thank Bart for his efforts during a challenging season," Argos president and CEO Bob Nicholson said in a statement. "Bart came to us with an impressive resume ... we look forward to building a winning team on the field."

The three wins by Toronto is the worst showing in 16 years and might also result in general manager Adam Rita losing his job.

However, there is talk Rita could stay on should current B.C. Lions owner David Braley purchase the Argos from David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski.

Under the 51-year-old Andrus, Toronto won once in its final 14 games this past season and was the most penalized team in the league.

Defensive end Jonathan Brown told the Toronto Sun last month that Rita's trade of all-star receiver Arland Bruce early in the season was the beginning of the end.

"Arland is a big-play threat and we never could recover from that," he said. "In this league, you need to have a perennial all-star at the receiver position."

In July, Bruce was left behind for a road game for disciplinary reasons. The Argos fined him four times this season for unprofessional behaviour that included leaving his playbook on a plane in Calgary and missing special-teams meetings.

Andrus had struggles

Besides Bruce, Andrus's public spat with cornerback Byron Parker became a distraction off the field. Parker was dealt to the Edmonton Eskimos in September.

Despite going over much game film of the Argos and other CFL teams following his hiring last January, Andrus, who had no previous experience in the league, appeared to have his struggles adjusting during games as the season progressed.

One of the knocks on the former NFL assistant coach was his decision to be the team's offensive co-ordinator rather than hiring someone with CFL experience. He relented once the season ended, saying he would step away from the role if he remained at the helm.

The Argos were plagued by a weak offence as veteran quarterback Kerry Joseph could not be resurrected under Andrus, while Cody Pickett was inconsistent and third-stringer Stephen Reaves remains an unknown.

NFL experience

In his lone season with Toronto, Andrus fared worse than his predecessors, Don Matthews and Rich Stubler, who combined for a 4-14 mark in 2008. The Argos dropped nine consecutive games with Matthews at the helm.

Andrus wasn't the first choice of Toronto management to take over. Lions defensive co-ordinator Mike Benevides turned the job down.

Andrus joined the Argos following two stints with the NFL's Tennessee Titans, and had experience coaching in the defunct NFL Europe and collegiately in the United States.

He guided the Amsterdam Admirals for six years before the European league folded. The team made the championship final twice, with Andrus recognized as the league's top coach in 2005.

In Toronto, the hope was he could follow in the footsteps of Alouettes bench boss Marc Trestman, who also was a CFL neophyte before taking Montreal to the Grey Cup in 2008.

The Alouettes fell to Calgary in last year's championship, but redeemed themselves last month with a 28-27 victory over Saskatchewan on a last-second 33-yard field goal by Damon Duval to take the CFL title.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Former Canadian Football League Player To Be Named Head Coach Of Kansas

Turner Gill is about to be named as head coach of Kansas football, according to a report at Yahoo! Sports, though University of Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel told The Buffalo News he had no information about Gill taking the Kansas job.

Gill takes over the Jayhawks despite finishing 5-7 at Buffalo in 2009, his third losing season in four years at the Mid American Conference school. His overall mark is set at 20-30.

Gill has apparently edged out the likes of hot coaching prospect Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, among others.

The new head Jayhawk never played in the NFL, but was a on his way to stardom in the Canadian Football League when he was forced to retire at 23 from concussions. He was a standout baseball player in high school and was drafted at shortstop by the Chicago White Sox.

Gill will be joining his daughter, a sophomore cheerleader, at Kansas.