Monday, July 16, 2018

DUNK: Owens May Be Interested In CFL

Image result for terrell owens

Receiver Terrell Owens activated the 10-day window that will force the Edmonton Eskimos to offer him a contract or release his rights on July 14, per sources.

The move by Owens is a sign he’s interested in coming to play in the CFL.

The Eskimos added Owens to their negotiation list on June 19.

Under CFL rules, any player on a team’s exclusive 45-man negotiation list can demand to be offered a contract within 10 days.  If a contract offer is not received within that period, the player is removed from the neg list. If a contract offer is received but rejected, the player is removed from the list one year from the offer date.

Something To "Mitch" About

--Where has all the offence gone?  The CFL is known for its fast-paced, high-scoring games.  Where have they gone?  While two of the three games had fans watching for the entire 60 minutes this week, the offensive flare that we are used to has disappeared.

--Is this a sign that defensive football has taken over or is it a sign that perhaps the league is in need of a talent infusion on the offensive side of the ball.  I would say its a combination of both.  We know the quarterback play is not what it has been even with injuries to some starters and we know defences are a lot better than what they used to be.  Is it safe to say we are going to see a lot of low-scoring games this year? You can usually tell a month into the season what you have and we have seen a lot of low-scoring games.  I can't see that changing anytime soon.

--The low-scoring games have been what sticks out over the first month of the season.  Perhaps moreso because it was July 14,1994 that Matt Dunigan threw for 714 yards in a Winnipeg win over Edmonton. Is 714 yards passing in a pro football game (the NFL record is 554 BTW) one of those records that will never be broken?  I would have to say it is.  To put it into perspective, the Rider QB's have thrown for 821 yards as a group and Dunigan threw for 714 in four quarters.

--Rider fans were bemoaning the fact that while winning their last game against the Ti-Cats, they didn't deserve to win.   Do you think anyone in BC is apologizing for beating the Bombers? They didn't deserve to win that game on Saturday, but it was handed to them thanks to some brain-cramps from the Bombers coaching staff.   You have the best running back in the league, but you run two third and less than a yard plays with one of them being stretched outside.  You have the best field goal kicker in the league, but you twice decide not to take what would have been a guaranteed three.  Even if you do that once, you likely still win the game.  While Rider fans wonder about the personnel moves Chris Jones is making, Bomber fans are just left wondering what the h-e-double hockeysticks Mike O'Shea is thinking.  Whatever it is, it didn't work on Saturday as they gave the Lions some life.  It just begs the question "Does Winnipeg have their own Sheldon?"

--CFL commish Randy Ambrosie celebrated his first year on the job last week.  I think it is safe to say Ambrosie has been a real positive for the league with the moves he has made and the initiatives he has started.  There are still issues, but for the most part I think the league is in a lot better shape.  That being said, year 2 might be a little more rocky than year 1 as he works to get a new CBA done---one that has to be much better for the players in a variety of areas.

One of those areas is pay.  On Friday's Sportscage, Luc Mullinder said the CFL has seen rival leagues sprout up before and then go away before ever starting or go away soon after starting like the XFL. He is absolutely correct on that.   I have no doubt the XFL 2.0 won't last long, but in doing some homework on the American Alliance of Football, they may have a chance at being a competitor to the NFL and taking a lot of talent away from the CFL.  It might be wise for the CFL to work together with this group----a group that has some names attached to it upstairs.  Perhaps they already are since each team has been partnered with a CFL squad.

I knew Bill Polian was involved, but I wasn't aware former NFL'ers like Troy Polamulu, Hines Ward and Jared Allen were involved at an executive level.  This league may have more of an impact on players than what we want to believe.  If players don't get a lot more money in the next deal, we could see a talent drain.  You have to be competitive and if American players can stay home and make the same money they could north of the border, you know what is going to happen.

--France are the kings of the soccer world.  The final of the World Cup was a thrilling affair and one that might have been different had it not been for a controversial penalty kick. One that I think should have been called as there was no doubt the Croatian player was guilty of a handball in the box.   This year's World Cup was one of the best and one of the most unpredictable I have seen, and I have been watching the event since 1982.   The constant flopping is annoying and is something that needs to be rectified.  As CTV's Lee Jones said on Twitter Sunday, it is no different than receivers getting up and demanding a flag be thrown because they've been interfered with when they haven't.

--The Blue Jays have to make some moves.  One of them is to get rid of Marcus Stroman.  Stroman, who is no favourite of this blogger, said his team is "f###ing terrible" after yesterday's loss in Boston.  Stroman is no stranger to whining and complaining and while he went to Twitter about four  hours after the rant to try and explain himself, it is clear he has had enough of Toronto and the current state they are in. If you believe what he's throwing down, you should wait eagerly for that e-mail from the Nigerian prince saying he needs your help  His statement is just like those caught with a positive drug test saying they don't know where it came from.  It's time for him to go. He can say what he wants well after the fact, but what remains is he told his teammates exactly what he thinks of them. A new start is needed.

--At the break, the best teams in each league are the Red Sox and Cubs.  Does that translate to a Boston-Chicago World Series.  While that would be awesome, I think many other teams will have a say in the matter. It's going to be a fun couple of months as several teams can be put in the equation of being baseball's best in November.

--Is it true former Leafs owner Harold Ballard told the team to take Luke Richardson with the number 6 pick in the NHL draft allowing Joe Sakic to go next to Quebec at number 7.  Oops!  That didn't work out very well did it now.  That tidbit of information comes courtesy Steve Simmons by the way.

--Good on the Pro Football Hall of Fame telling Terrell Owens that he may have been elected to the Canton, Ohio shrine, but he will not be included in ceremonies if he fails to show as he says he will.  Those who know football know Owens is a guy who is not a team player and is concerned only about himself.  He wanted to be in the Hall, and now that he is finally there with football's greats, he doesn't want to show up and have the stage all to himself.  Pound sand T-O. If you want to slap those who are going in and those already in with this stance, you go for it, but don't complain about what happens after.  I can only wonder if those who voted for him would do so today if they knew what was up his sleeve.

--If you are a football fan and you want to feel old.  Barry Sanders turned 50 yesterday.  If you have to ask yourself who Barry Sanders is, then go get a history lesson.

--That's all I got.  Have a great week!

What Did You Miss Sunday?

--Former NHL goalie Ray Emery is dead at the age of 35.  Emery jumped off a boat in Hamilton to go swimming and did not surface.  His body was found about 20 metres from where he had went in the water.  Emery played for several teams including the Hawks where he won the Stanley Cup in 2013. He was also instrumental in getting Ottawa to the 07 Final. 

--France is celebrating its second World Cup title after beating Croatia 4-2 in the highest-scoring World Cup final since 1966. Dramatic moments in the match included the first own-goal and the first video-reviewed penalty in a World Cup final, along with a brief pitch invasion orchestrated by Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

---The final game of the first half of the season for the Blue Jays was an explosive one.  The team lost 5-2 to Boston putting them at 43-52 for the season. After the game, pitcher Marcus Stroman got angry with a post-game interview and said his team was "f****ing terrible". Stroman later took to Twitter to try and clarify things saying he and the team are terrible.   The team also placed Kevin Pillar on the 10 day DL after he suffered a collarbone injury following a highlight reel catch on Saturday. The injury is one that will keep him out for at least a month if not more. 

--Canada's Brooke Henderson was unable to hold onto her 54-hole lead at the Marathon Classic. The 20-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario had a one-shot advantage heading into the final round and cruised through the first 14 holes before running into trouble with bogeyes on 15 and 16 to finish third. Thidapa Suwannapura beat American Brittany Lincicome in a playoff to win the tournament.  Henderson and Lincicome will both be in Regina next month at the CP Canadian Womens Open. 

--The family of Lethbridge Hurricane Ryan Vandervlis issued a statement today as their son continues to recover after a campfire explosion June 15.  Vandervlis, who had been in a medically induced coma, was transferred from the ICU at a Calgary hospital to a burn unit.   He faces a prolonged stay in the burn unit as he recovers after having 50 percent of his body suffering burns ranging from supeficial to third degree.  Doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What Did You Miss Saturday?

--The BC Lions got a last play chip-shot field goal by Ty Long as they beat Winnipeg 20-17.  The Bombers led the game 17-0 at the half. The Lions are now 2-2 while the Bombers are 2-3.

--The CFL is suspending Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Dylan Wynn for one game, effective immediately. The discipline is in response to a play in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game, when Wynn hit Edmonton Eskimos running back C.J. Gable. In making this hit, Wynn used his helmet to deliver a late and direct blow to Gable’s head in a reckless manner while the player was on the ground and in a vulnerable position.

--Belgium has achieved its best World Cup finish by beating England 2-nil in the 3rd place game Thomas Meunier  gave Belgium the lead in the fourth minute. Croatia plays France in the championship game Sunday.

--The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Matheny during his seventh season with the team hovering around .500. The Cardinals announced Matheny’s firing after an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, a defeat that dropped St. Louis to 47-46 and seven games back of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

--Ilya Kovalchuk says he has three to four good years left.  Kovalchuk made the statement to reporters in Los Angeles Saturday as he discussed his return to the NHL and the Kings after playing in the KHL for the last five years.  The 35 year old figures with players like Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, and Anze Kopitar around that he should be able to produce at a high level.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Alliance of American Football Unveils Pay Structure and Roster Allocation

Related image

Less than eight months before the scheduled start of its new pro league, the Alliance of American Football has rolled out details about player allocation, a combine, a draft and salary expectations.

League co-founder Bill Polian, an ESPN NFL analyst, said the league will give players three-year, non-guaranteed contracts worth $250,000 each.

Players can leave the league, which is set to kick off Feb. 9, to go to the NFL. Polian said it's currently unclear whether a player's rights will revert back to the AAF after a three-year period expires or if the clock stops ticking on a team's three-year rights when a player gets "called up" to the big time.

Salaries will be in line with AAF competitor the XFL, which has said it will pay players an average of $75,000 per season. That league launches in 2020.

Polian said a contract will include state-of-the-industry health insurance and an education stipend to any player who completes a year in the league.

The AAF will scout players who don't make NFL and CFL teams. They will be allocated to rosters based primarily on where they played college, if there is an AAF team within a reasonable radius. When that isn't the case -- which will often be true for players from the Big Ten and the Big 12 -- players will be allocated based on their most recent NFL or CFL team.

Players whose college doesn't have an AAF affiliation and who haven't played in the NFL or CFL are eligible to be tendered a contract by any team.

"Each of our teams will have at least five colleges whose players become theirs, four designated NFL teams and a CFL team that is assigned," Polian said.

Polian said modeling suggested that this format would lead to a competitive league, taking into account that the Birmingham team, for example, wouldn't be loaded with Alabama players because many of those players actually make the NFL. The one exception the league has made is for quarterbacks: Teams can only take one former college quarterback in their region.

Polian said the college model will have immediate business implications for the teams.

"If the Birmingham teams has Trent Richardson, we think that will be something that would be a significant gate attraction," Polian said.

The league will hold three combines next month -- in Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta. Players who want to try out will be charged $175.

The AAF has teams in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego. Coaches include Steve Spurrier (Orlando), Brad Childress (Atlanta) and Mike Singletary (Memphis).

Each CFL team has been paired with one of the eight AAF teams: Edmonton Eskimos with Phoenix; Calgary Stampeders with Salt Lake; B.C. Lions with with San Diego; Saskatchewan Roughriders with San Antonio; Winnipeg Blue Bombers with Memphis; Hamilton Tiger-Cats with Orlando; Toronto Argonauts with Atlanta, and both the Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Redblacks with Birmingham.

Image result for alliance of american football san antonio player allocation

(Associated Press)

What Did You Miss Friday?

Courtesy: Edmonton Eskimos 

--Mike Reilly threw for 258 yards and two TD's as Edmonton beat Toronto 16-15 on a rainy night in Edmonton.  The Eskimos are now 3-2 on the season while Toronto is 1-3.

--Bo Levi Mitchell was a spectator at Stamps practice Friday.  Mitchell left Thursday's game versus Ottawa with a knee injury.  The Calgary quarterback told reporters he needs to undergo some tests on the knee, but he doesn't think it is anything serious. 

--Weyburn's Graham DeLaet doesn't know when he will swing a golf club on the PGA Tour again.  DeLaet is in Saskatoon for his Graham Slam charity event. He says a procedure to fix a back problem did not work and doctors still can't pinpoint exactly what is wrong. DeLaet has no idea when he may return. He says he will meet with doctors in the next few weeks to try and determine the next steps. with surgery being the last resort. 

--A setback for former N-H-L players suing the league over head injuries. The federal judge overseeing the case has denied class-action status for the players. The landmark lawsuit was filed over five years ago.

--Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has signed a three-year extension with the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury helped lead the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup final in their expansion campaign this past year. The contract has an average value of $7 million dollars.

Friday, July 13, 2018

This and That

--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.

--We have a nine team CFL and three have the weekend off. I don't understand and frankly, I've stopped trying to understand some of the decisions made.  I understand you gave every one an additional bye week this year, but giving three teams a bye is dumb when you only have nine teams. Am I right on that one?

--The Johnny Manziel hype is on hold for a week because the Ti-Cats are off.  The hype is seemingly still as strong as its ever been with hopes Johnny Football will get into a game.  Meanwhile, Jeremiah Masoli continues to turn heads as he is playing the best football of his career.  Are those tuning in to watch Manziel from south of the border intrigued by Masoli and what he can do in four-down football?  They should!

--What has happened to Jon Jennings? The Lions quarterback looks nothing like the QB that came out firing when he came into this league. Jennings has been a downward slide since injuring his shoulder early last year in Hamilton. He isn't even close to being the same QB. Is it a confidence issue? Is that shoulder still damaged? Is it something else?  Whatever it is, it would seem as if his days in BC are done. I am guessing he finds another CFL home, but will a change of scenery change anything?

--Are the Calgary Stampeders about to see what its like without Bo Levi Mitchell.  He left in the first half of Calgary's one-sided win over Ottawa and did not return.  On the surface, it would appear as if the knee injury he suffered is not serious in nature.  I think a lot of us didn't think Zach Collaros would be out for as long as he has been when he was hurt in Ottawa. We have seen how that turned out.  If its the Nick Arbuckle show, it is advantage Edmonton and perhaps Winnipeg.

--If Mitchell is out, it is bad for the CFL, He will be out, Ricky Ray is out, Zach Collaros is out, Drew Willy is out, Jennings is not playing well.  It means half of your league has a question mark at the game's most important position and that isn't good in my books.

--Speaking of Collaros, where is he at with his concussion? It's the question Rider Nation wants an answer to.  It has been deathly silent during the bye week at Mosaic and I expect that to continue until the team gets back on the field to get ready for Thursday's game in Hamilton.  There are other questions that need answering as well, but that is the big one.

--There is a thought process out there that the Rider offence would be better with Rob Bagg, Bakari Grant and Chad Owens.  Ummmmm, I know Bagg is hurt and likely wouldn't be on the roster right now if he were still here, but where are Grant and Owens these days? Oh yeah, they're not helping anyone. Never mind!

--The anti-Chris Jones faction is also starting to get worked up over the fact James Franklin is not here.  This just in.  He never was going to be.  The Eskimos knew they had to do something with their quarterback, and the last thing they wanted to do was give him to a Western Division rival that was on the rise.  Brock Sunderland is not that dumb, and Jones wasn't going to give Edmonton the rich offer they wanted.  Again, please put that conversation to bed and remember to renew your membership in the "I Hate Chris Jones" club when the notice hits your inbox.

--Why wasn't there a concert at half-time of the Calgary-Ottawa game? Wasn't that the plan on Thursday nights?

--The World Cup comes to an end this weekend. Croatia will meet France in the final.  All the games haven't been classics, but I've enjoyed the world's best going at it over the last month.  The game is not everyone's cup of tea though. I admit that.  There are a variety of reasons.  I asked on the Cage Thursday what would be on your TV when it came to sports in heaven or hell.  You can give me football, hockey and baseball, but don't give me tennis and NASCAR.

--Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts suggested this week baseball should scrap the home-run derby and have some kind of skills competition on the day before the all-star game.  Does Betts think people want to see an outfielder try and throw it through a hoop from 350 feet away or a drag bunt competition.  Cmon Mookie!

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!