Shortly after I posted yesterday's CFL news, there were a couple signings that are worth noting...
Omarr Morgan Returns
The Riders announced yesterday that they had signed free-agent cornerback Omarr Morgan. Morgan is coming off a disappointing season in Edmonton (as if there were any other kind of season in Edmonton) which have many questioning whether Morgan has lost a step. I for one think this is a great signing. Morgan is a seasoned veteran who has a wealth of experience with Richie Hall's defense. Best case scenario, Morgan regains his all-star form now that he's reunited with Hall and Eddie Davis. Worst case scenario we have a veteran back-up in case one of our starters goes down. And given that no DB played all 18 games last season, it's a good insurance policy to have.
You kind of have to feel for Morgan. In terms of career moves, he definitely ended up making one of the more boneheaded ones. Last year, Tillman offered Morgan a very lucrative deal to stay with the Riders. Morgan turned it down in favour of an even more lucrative deal with the Eskimos. One disappointing season later, the Esks cut him and he comes back to Saskatchewan (after missing out on a Grey Cup ring) for a contract that I guarantee pales in comparison to the one he was offered last year. And you know the humour isn't lost on Tillman. I can just picture the contract signing...
ET: Now where did I put that contract? Oh it's right here under my Grey Cup ring. Silly me, I always leave it laying around. I bet you know what that's like hey Omarr?... oh wait..... awkward...
James Johnson Re-signs
If you're a regular reader you can probably guess that I had pretty mixed emotions over the news that we had extended the contract of the Grey Cup MVP. Admittedly, I have never been a big fan of James Johnson and I was very critical of his play over the course of the season. That said, do I think we should cut Johnson? Well, that seems a bit drastic... besides, as far as I know, he's not even Jewish! I won't write him off completely as he has shown glimmers of greatness, most notably his record setting Grey Cup performance. Problem is those glimmers of greatness are mixed in between moments of covering receivers as if they had SARS and displays of tackling that make him look like he's doing his best impression of a man with no arms trying hump someone into submission. Now Johnson is young and hasn't been playing football all that long so there's still a chance he could develop into the greatest defensive force of our generation... or since that clearly won't happen, at least a solid DB.
The signing of Morgan makes me feel a lot better about Johnson being on the roster. In order to keep his starting spot next year, Johnson will have to prove he's better than Morgan and Airabin Justin. And if he does that, then great, he deserves to play and I'll ease up on ridiculing him. If not, he'll have to ride the pine and continue to withstand a barrage of Rider Prophet mockery. Either way I'm happy.
Charles Thomas Resurfaces
Former Roughriders lineman Charles Thomas signed with Hamilton yesterday. The news surprised me. Thomas kind of fell off the face of the earth after being released by the Rider last year and I assumed he was dead... turns out he just wasn't playing football. Many are questioning why Hamilton would be interested in a lineman whose blocking prowess while with the Riders earned him the nickname "Turnstile". Well I have a logical explanation. While Thomas is clearly not among the top linemen in the CFL, he's also not the worst. You likely won't win a Grey Cup with him lining up at tackle but a mediocre season isn't out of the question and let's face it, a mediocre season would far exceed expectations in Hamilton this year. Thomas may very well be one of their best linemen but given that it's the Ti-cats I guess that's not saying much, kinda like being the star pupil in the remedial class.
Sources say that Thomas was initially hesitant about signing with the lowly Ti-Cats but it turns out Bob O'Billovich is a pretty persuasive guy. When Thomas asked why he should sign with the worst team in the CFL, O'Billovich astutely pointed out "We may not be the best team out there, but we're the only one that's interested in you." Check mate O'Billovich.