Ladies and Gentlemen, Eric Tillman has left the building. I know it’s almost been a week since he resigned but the reality of him being gone is really only starting to settle in now for me… having almost nothing to do with the 5 day bender that the loss of Tillman and Chick within 24 hours sent me spiralling into.
The good news is that ET took every precaution to ensure that his successor could not screw things up for the upcoming season (guess he was just as worried about Taman taking over as I am). He has apparently reached verbal agreements with most of our free-agents, has ensured we are under the cap and used the excess money to extend a few contracts and he has apparently signed a bunch of Americans and filled our training camp roster to the point that there are no more spots left for imports. Basically it seems that ET saw the writing on the wall and decided to do an offseason’s worth of work in a few weeks to ensure one more good season for the Riders. I wouldn’t be surprised if he left instructions on who to draft over the next 3 years… with a big sticky note on top that says “Don’t Let Taman Trade Away Our Picks!”
According to Jim Hopson, Taman and Joe Womack are the leading contenders. Though apparently Tom Higgins has expressed his interest. Higgins must not be enjoying his job as Director of Officiating that much because any football related job that has come along in the past few weeks, he has made a point of letting people know that he’s interested. I’m waiting for the Argos to say they are looking for a new summer temp and Higgins to immediately declare his interest in the position.
The NFL is in the middle of a full fledged pillage of CFL rosters. Having already snagged Rolly Lumbala (Miami), Ryan Grice-Mullen (Miami), Larry Taylor (NYJ), Dudley Guice (Indy), Jonathan Hefney (Detroit), Walter Curry (Jacksonville) and John Chick (Indy… you bastards!) as you’ll see below, the list continues to grow. My concern is that if mediocre receivers like Grice-Mullen, Green and the unheard-of Guice are getting contracts, that can’t bode will for our chances of keeping Fantuz. Then again I haven’t heard that Fantuz has had any workouts yet and you’d have to think that if he gets snubbed this year while lesser receivers are getting signed that would pretty much have to bed his NFL aspirations.
This just in… Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids throughout his career including the year he broke the home run record. I for one was completely caught off guard by this development. Never saw it coming. I mean what’s next? News that Wilt Chamberlain was promiscuous during his playing days? Or news that wrestling is fake? I just don’t know what to believe anymore.
The CFL released its list of potential free agents today. Among the most concerning potential Rider free agents are Scott Shultz (who retired many months ago), Andy Fantuz (who’s already agreed to an extension with us) and Dustin Cherniawski (can’t imagine how we would ever survive without him).
I’d also like to point out that James Johnson is a potential free agent. Let the bidding war begin… well okay I can’t even type that with a straight face. But seriously, I sincerely hope that Johnson is able secure another CFL contract… as long as it’s with anyone but us.
Winnipeg’s search to fill every position except their receptionist (who at this point is probably in charge of player signings… marking a dramatic improvement in that area compared to previous years) continues. The list of candidates for the head coaching positions has apparently been narrowed to Stamps OC George Cortez, Stamps DC Chris Jones, Ti-Cat DC Greg Marshall and Als DC Tim Burke. All speculation points to Marshall as the front-runner.
Among those said to be interested in the front office jobs are current Bombers personnel men John Murphy and Ross Hodgkinson, Brendan Taman, Tom Higgins and Mike McCarthy (the Als scout not the Green Bay coach). Please pick Taman, please pick Taman, please pick Taman.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: OL Tim O’Neil, OL Godfrey Ellis (re-signed)
Out: OL Dmitri Tsoumpas (signed with Miami Dolphins)
Out: WR SJ Green (signed with NY Jets)
As with most Alouette news I include this only to comply with constitutional requirements to maintain a certain level of French content. Tres bien!
In: DB Jovon Johnson (re-signed)
While I’m not surprised that Winnipeg wanted to re-sign Johnson (seeing as he is an elite cornerback and kick retruner), I’m somewhat surprised that Johnson would re-sign with a team with no GM, coach, QB or another element that is key to the success of a football team.
In: OL Peter Dyakowski, LB Yannick Carter, S Sandy Beveridge (re-signed)
Out: DB Bo Smith (signed with NY Jets)
Bo Smith got an NFL contract, Markeith Knowlton and Geoff Tisdale have worked out for NFL teams as well… for a team that spent the better part of decade with a roster filed with guys that probably wouldn’t make
In: OL Zachary Pollari, OL Gordon Sawler, DB Brad Crawford, DB Anthony Deslauriers (2009 draft pick signing); FB Peter Quinney, LB Tang Bacheyie (free agent signing)
Given that all 6 of these players are young Canadian players, it would seem on the surface that the Argos have finally realized the importance of recruiting quality Canadian players… but if you dig deeper you realize that all of them were drafted in the 4th round or later in last year’s draft so the “quality” part of things doesn’t really apply and that this is the same old Argos. By the way… who names their kid Tang?