Tuesday the tenure of a beloved Rider came to an end. We all saw this coming a mile away and for the most part can’t disagree with the decision but it still is a sad day. Luca Congi has been released. Mrs. Prophet is particularly distraught as she would no doubt leave me for Congi if the opportunity presented. The stay of 2 other Riders also came to an end but they were less beloved and they are not being mourned (more on them in a bit).
Luca Congi was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 CFL draft by then GM Roy Shivers. We needed to replace Paul McCallum for reason I won’t bother rehashing. Shiv no doubt wanted a black kicker (of which there are very few) but had to settle on an Italian one (of which there is an abundance). Congi made an immediate impression in his rookie season establishing himself as a reliable kicker. He put together a string of consecutive FGs that came close to tying Dave Ridgeway’s record. He won a Grey Cup with us in 2007. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine since Congi was not a very good punter or kickoff guy but Rider Nation came to adore this loveable Italian. I’ll never get why he was so bad at kickoffs. Punting, I get, it’s a completely different motion. But FGs and kickoffs are pretty similar and Congi was just awful at kickoffs.
It all came crashing down when someone came unblocked off the edge on a kick attempt and obliterated Congi’s knee. Sadly that would be that time he’d done a Rider jersey. The belief that “you do not lose your spot do to injury” is pure crap. While Congi was hurt we drafted another kicker. Turned out he could do all 3 kicking jobs well and came at a fraction of Congi’s $100,000 price tag. Younger, cheaper, better… the decision was so easy that not even Taman could botch it. So while I’m sad from a human side of things, I’m in full agreement from a football side of things.
So long, Luca and best of luck. My only regret is that you never grew that daigo moustache I wanted you too. Just think what could have been…
As for the less beloved Riders that were released George Hudson (who I sure most of you forgot was even on this team) and Tamon George. Hudson was and old vet OL who was brought in as a back-up OL/emergency centre in case Parenteau sucked (well Parenteau actually did suck so the fact that Hudson never got to play should tell you something). With Neufeld, Kraunsick-Groh and Hutchins waiting in the wings we just had no use for … or even less use for him since we never really used him.
As for Tamon, he just never panned out. When he was drafted he was considered the top cover guy in the CIS. In retrospect that may have been more a reflection on the quality of CIS DBs than on George’s talent. He had plenty of chances to prove himself what with Donovan Alexander being shipped out and Leron Mitchell always being hurt… but never showed he had what it takes to compete at this level. He
It’s a good thing that Keith Shologan turned out to be good because otherwise Eric Tillman’s draft record while he was with the Riders would be abysmal. Now I like ET but outside of Shologan he drafted the following “superstars”: David McKoy, Yannick Carter, Ryan Ackerman, Reggie Bradshaw, Jonathan St. Pierre, Mike Stadnyk, Teal Orban, Jean-Francois Morin-Roberge, and Nick Hutchins.
Yannick is the only one to accomplish anything out of that group. Its actually amazing Tillman was able to build such strong Canadian content in spite of his god awful drafting. He was way better at trading for Canadians and signing undrafted ones than actually drafting people.
Speaking of Tillman my early prediction is that both Congi and George end up in Edmonton for a tryout at training camp.
The Riders also signed Saskatchewan punter Chris Bodnar… as far as I know he is neither Italian, has a moustache nor has a lat name I can turn into a hilarious Seinfeld reference… therefore I am indifferent towards this signing.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DB Ian Logan (contract extension), OL Brendan Dunn (draft pick signing)
In: DB Ryan Hinds (contract extension)