The Alouettes announced on Friday that import quarterbacks Troy Smith and Tanner Marsh have agreed to a pair of new three-year contracts, securing both pivots with the club until 2016.
"As we await Anthony's decision, we feel that the future at the quarterback position is promising for the Alouettes with the signing of these two young men who have started and won for us last season," said Alouettes General Manager and Head Coach Jim Popp.
Smith (6'0", 225 lbs.) joined the Alouettes near the halfway mark of the 2013 season before taking the reigns as the club’s starting pivot on October 20, finishing the regular season with a 2-1 record. Smith made his fourth consecutive CFL start in the East Division Semi-Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at their temporary home in Guelph, leading the Alouettes to overtime in his first professional playoff start.
While getting up to speed with the Canadian game, Smith has showcased his leadership qualities and impressive arm strength in both practice and game situations during his first season in Montreal. In his rookie season, he completed 60 of his 114 pass attempts for 884 yards and nine TDs.
"I am very impressed with Troy's leadership, communication skills and ability to grab his teammates' attention. Last season, Troy quickly proved to us that he can adapt to the CFL and showed great promise for the future," explained Popp.
The 29-year-old pivot had an outstanding college career at Ohio State University from 2003 to 2006, winning the Heisman Trophy with the Buckeyes in his final year of eligibility on his way to a BCS National Championship game appearance that same year.
In his three seasons with Ohio State University, Smith threw for 5,720 yards and 54 scores, completing 420 of his 670 attempts. A former fifth-round draft pick (174th overall) of the Baltimore Ravens in 2007, Smith played three seasons with the Ravens, making 14 starts while throwing for 558 yards and three TDs. He later joined San Francisco, guiding the 49ers to three wins in his five starts in 2010.
Marsh (6'4", 218 lbs.) started the season third on the Alouettes’ depth chart before seeing his first significant CFL action on August 22 in an electrifying 39-38 come-from-behind home win over the visiting B.C. Lions.
The former Arkansas Tech quarterback tossed a 57-yard hail mary pass to receiver Éric Deslauriers with almost no time left on the clock to set up the game-winning field goal.
"We are excited about Tanner. We are looking forward to seeing his athletic skills and his dual-threat ability as he continues to develop into what we feel will be a premier player," added Popp. "His performance versus B.C. made him an instant icon in Montreal. Marsh Madness continues."
Marsh finished his rookie campaign going 56-for-106, for 972 yards and three TDs. The 24-year-old also displayed his versatility rushing for 125 yards and two scores on 21 carries.
Ottawa REDBLACKS head coach Rick Campbell announced 8 hires today including Mike Gibson as offensive coordinator and Mark Nelson as defensive coordinator. The rest of the hires are as follows:
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Gibson
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Nelson
Special Teams Coordinator and Running Backs Coach: Don Yanowsky
Quarterbacks Coach: Marcus Crandell
Receivers Coach: Travis Moore
Defensive Backs Coach: Ike Charlton
Offensive Assistant: Jordan Maksymic
Defensive Assistant: Derek Oswalt
"These are exciting times as our REDBLACKS football family continues to grow, as we introduce our top-notch coaching staff to our fans," said Campbell. "These men are great football coaches and quality people, which is important. We want to surround ourselves with talent and character throughout the organization. The extensive coaching and playing experience of this staff will continue to propel us in our quest to build a winning organization both on and off the field."
Toronto Argonauts RB/FB Jeff Johnson, who has been a mainstay in the Argonauts’ lineup for more than a decade as well as a member of two championship teams, has announced his retirement from football.
Commented Jeff Johnson, “It is with great humility and great honour that I have decided to retire from the game of football and move on to the next chapter of my life. I could have never imagined all that I would gain from this great game. I would like to thank the Toronto Argonauts organization for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime - it has been a dream come true. Thank you to all the fans for your support, dedication and love that you continue to show year after year. Finally, thank you to all my family and friends who have been there from the beginning and for showering me with love and support for 14 incredible years; I love you all. Double Blue forever!”
Known inside the locker room as ‘JJ’, his CFL career spanned 14 seasons - his first two as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2000-2001) and then 12 years in Toronto (2001-2013). He played in 234 regular season CFL games, including 198 regular season games as an Argo which is good for fifth most in team history (behind only Don Moen, 222, Mike O’Shea, 205, Noel Prefontaine, 208, and Danny Nykoluk, 204). He also dressed in 14 CFL playoff games, 11 as an Argonaut, and played in and won two Grey Cup championships, both as an Argo in 2004 and 2012.