Free agency opens next week in the CFL however I will be saving my comments/predictions on that until Monday so you will have to settle for my random opinions on the various goings on across the CFL and other various sports leagues… you are pretty much at the mercy of the wanderings of my mind (which is a very scary place to be).
- We start off on an extremely positive note today as the Riders announced that they have release Marc Parenteau and James Robinson and will not be offering Wes Cates a new contract (so much for the 4 More Years campaign)
- Parenteau was hilarious off the field and did pretty much everything well… except snap. Unfortunately for a centre that is kind of a big deal. I think Parenteau’s calling in life is as a team’s 6th OL lineman. He’s versatile but never struck me fulltime starter material.
- Like most Robinsons, James was useless. He never ran the right routes and just looked lost most of the time. Good riddance I say. That said word is Robinson has tryout with the Buffalo Bills lined up. And people wonder why the Bills aren’t a playoff contender.
- As for Cates, it’s a bittersweet moment. It was painfully obvious that Cates was done and moving on is the right decision (perhaps a year overdue) but on the other hand the guy will go down as one of the best RBs in franchise history. He was a huge part of the ’07 Grey Cup team and watching him in ’08 was a treat. The guy was on top of his game and few in the league could compare. That said we rode him pretty hard that year and that’s when his career started to nosedive. Too many hard miles too fast I think. With the exception of the mind boggling 16 TD season in 2010 he was never the same. That said I will never question his heart, I will never question leadership and I will never question his skill. He was one of the most well rounded backs I’ve seen (ran well, caught well, blocked well). He’s a shoe in for the Plaza and deserves all the respect in the world for a great career in Green and White
- The Riders also signed 3 import RBs today Louis Rankin, Demetrius Crawford and Kory Sheets. Based purely on the knowledge I have at hand (i.e. their names) I am going to speculate that Demetrius Crawford is going to be the best recruit (it’s a foundational rule of stereotyping that the blacker the name the better the athlete they are) Louis Rankin will be an early training camp cut (he sounds more like a long lost member of the Rankin Family than an imposing RB) and Kory Sheets well I just have a hard time trusting someone named after an item in my bedroom (I wouldn’t trust Jim Bedskirt or Steve Hiddenstashofporno either).
- Seriously though, these signings at least give me some confidence that the Riders are serious about addressing their deficiencies. This is a strong signal that Brandon West is not just going to be handed the starter’s role. Which is as it should be. Bring a bunch of talent to camp and may the best man win. The fact that 3 were signed makes me wonder if Yvenson Bernard might soon be released. 5 or more import RBs in camp just seems like an unmanageable amount.
- The craziest news this week in the CFL was news that Jovan Olafioye was released abruptly from his 3 yr deal with the St Louis Rams (which included over $90,000 in guaranteed money) and would be returning to play out his option year with the Lions. Details are scare on the reasons for the release though mention was made in a press release about a “medical concern”. That raises some red flags for me… for the Rams to abruptly release him and none of the other 13 NFL teams who he tried out for to pick him up tells me its gotta be something serious… now whether it’s a physical problem or one of (how shall I put this?)… passing certain “screening tests” remains a mystery.
- How lucky are the BC Lions? 2 of their best players had serious NFL offers and somehow they managed to keep both. One because of a “medical issue” and one because he went crazy and parted ways with 2 agents and walked away from a good deal. At this rate I’m seriously waiting for a press release stating that Solomon Elimimian will be returning to the Lions because he has been diagnosed with a rare allergy to the colour purple.
- Coach of the Year Candidates were unveiled this week and no real surprises on the list: Wally Buono, Kavis Reed and Paul LaPolice. Without getting too much into it, if Wally doesn’t win after the ridiculous turnaround he led the Lions through it is a Shamockery (both a sham and a mockery, you can thank Ben Wallace for that fantastic word).
- Word is Mark Cohon is set to sign a 3 year extension as Commissioner. That gets a thumbs up from me.
- Justin Hickman has signed with the Indy Colts. There was speculation that the Riders were going to pursue Hickman but the damn Colts foiled us again. I’m starting to get sick of what they are doing to us. They take Kenton Keith, they take John Chick, they take Jerrell Freeman, they take Hickman before we could even get a chance with him and worst of all they sent back Jordan Sisco. It’s just not fair.
- Don’t look now but my Montreal Canadiens’ $7.3 million investment in Scott Gomez is finally paying dividends. He scored for the first time in over a year. He has 2 more years at the same pay level left on his contract so we can now look forward to the next $7 million goal sometime next spring. (hangs head shaking it in disgust)
- Lastly, I feel the need to comment on this Rob Gronkowski business. For those of you who don’t know he was spotted out at a Super Bowl after party drunk as can be, fist pumping with his shirt off on the dance floor. People are absolutely crucifying him over this and I don’t know why. The guy lost a big game and dealt with it by going out and getting drunk… big deal. What was he supposed to do? Administer lashes to himself? Sit at home and write sad poetry? Honestly, who among us hasn’t drowned their sorrows over something far less significant than the Super Bowl? And who hasn’t first pumped with their shirt off? For me that’s just a typical Wednesday night.
CFL Ins and Out
In: RB Noel Devine, WR Felton Huggins, DE Duke Lemmens, DE Michael Montgomery, DB Dajuan Morgan, DB Stephan Neville (free agent signing)
Out: DL Anwar Stewart, WR Danny Desriveaux, DL Jeff Robertshaw (released)
Stewart was apparently playing for a mere $50,000 last year. I realize he’s old enough to qualify as a Rider O-lineman but I’d say they got $50,000 worth of production out of him last year. That said watch Stewart show up here for significantly more money.
In: WR Bakari Grant, WR Terrence Jeffers-Harris (contract extension)
Out: DL Justin Hickman (signed with Indy)
As much as the Ti-Cats were accused of signing Jeffers-Harris a few days before a game with the Bombers for dubious reasons only, I say it was a great move. He has some motivational and work ethic issues but he has the talent to be an impact receiver… and really if you look at the Ti-Cats receivers collectively they aren’t anything special so this should help.
In: DB Brady Browne (contract extension), RB Anthony Woodson (2010 Draft Pick Signing)
Remember when Browne was a Rider? No? Don’t worry, most people don’t.
In: DB Korey Banks, WR Paris Jackson (contract extension), DB Lin-J Shell (free agent signing)
Shell will be a solid addition for the Lions. It likely means that one or both or Dante Marsh and Ryan Phillips are done in BC.
In: LB Joe Henderson, LB Montez Robinson, DL Cody Brown, DL Chase Vaughn (free agent signing)
In: WR Andrew Nowacki (contract extension)