Friday, April 23, 2010

Graham Harrell We Hardly Knew Ye

Surprising news out of Riderville yesterday as the team announced that Graham Harrell had been released. While details are sketchy at this point as to why he was let loose, according to Ken Miller he “preferred not to stay with us”. Whether that means he doesn’t want to be in the CFL anymore or just doesn’t want to be with the Riders remains to be seen.

Basically the whole situation boils down to the fact that Tillman recruited him aggressively and Harrell obviously came up here with the goal of starting. What Harrell didn’t count on was Durant emerging as a top QB and Tillman parting ways with the Riders (though given that Tillman had already been charged before Harrell signed that one shouldn’t have been all that surprising). So now Harrell is stuck behind the youngest bonafide starter in the league and his biggest supporter has left town. Obviously he is not content settling for a backup role so he asked to be released.

Actually Eric Tillman has provided an explanation of the whole Harrell saga that sums things up pretty nicely (including his request to be traded last season). You can check it out here.

My reaction is fairly mixed on this development. Obviously Harrell, given his amazing college career, had great potential and losing that kinda sucks. But it’s not like we are in dire need of a QB right now and Harrell’s “me first” attitude doesn’t fit well with our current team anyways. As Taman said, “if there's someone who's not happy here, we won't have them here”… good lord! I can’t believe I just quoted Taman to make a point. This is a pretty low point for me. What’s next? Using James Johnson film to demonstrate proper defensive techniques? … though that would assume that film actually exists of Johnson using proper defensive techniques.

In less surprising news, the Riders simultaneously announced that Eric Morris had also been released. I say less surprising because the only reason we signed Morris in the first place was because he was a buddy of Harrell’s and it was part of Tillman’s plan to lure Harrell north… yes, surprising as it may seem, it was not his awe inspiring kick returning skills that earned him a contract here. With Harrell out of the picture we really had no more use for Morris who had proven to be a marginal player at best in his limited playing time… not to mention I don’t know if his knee had fully healed from last year anyway.

Other Random Musings…

- The 2010 CFL Hall of Fame weekend will be held here in Saskatchewan this year. This will of course be highlighted by the induction of Rider great Don Narcisse… and hopefully further highlighted by a hall of fame-worthy Narco celebration dance.

- The league has approved 4 rule changes for the upcoming season. The most notable of which is teams will now be required to attempt a 2 point convert in overtime after scoring a TD. As much as I am in favour of tweaking the rules for the better, given that the refs already struggle with correctly enforcing existing rules, I’m not so sure that introducing changes each year is a good idea.

- The Argos are reportedly considering blackouts for the first time in many years. While many see this a move that would have a negative impact on their fan base, I see this as a move that will positively impact it. Given how bad the Argos are likely to be, this is more an act of mercy for their fans for not subjecting them to the embarrassment of watching the Argos fail. I’m sure the fans will appreciate.

- The Montreal Canadiens should take a page out of the football strategy book and start declining penalties. They actually seem to be at a disadvantage when on the man advantage (though by the time you read this they will likely have already been eliminated from the playoffs).

CFL Ins and Outs


In: WR Geroy Simon (contract extension), OL Jason Boone, OL Jovan Olafioye, DL Dominie Pittman, LB Joe Henderson (free agent signing)
The new contract makes Simon the highest paid receiver in the league, making over $200,000. I’d worry about what kind of affect that will have on BC’s cap situation but realistically there aren’t that many other players left on that team that are worth paying so they will probably be fine.

In: LB Robert McCune, LB Jae Thaxton, DE Kenny Mainor, RB Rafael Little, WR Louis Givens (free agent signing)
I got nothing.

In: LB Rian Wallace, WR Chris Davis, WR Travis Shelton, DB Donald Brown Jr., OL Chris Kowalczuk (free agent signing)
Out: WR Vincent Marshall (cut)

So Marshall signs with Winnipeg in January and managed to get cut 3 months later without even doing anything. That’s gotta hurt.

In: WR DJ Boldin, RB Roosevelt Ross (free agent signing)
DJ Boldin is the younger brother of Anquon Boldin. Roosevelt Ross is of no relation to the Boldins… just in case you were wondering.

In: OL Clifford Louis, OL Jeremy Parquet, WR Rudy Burgess (free agent signing)
I hope Burgess makes the team purely for the RUDY chants that it will no doubt lead to.

In: WR Jeffrey Webb (free agent signing)
New year, new owner, new coach, same misguided theory that signing washed up NFLers is a good idea.

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