55 Yard Line

  • Kerry Joseph's signing turns up heat in Esks' backup battle

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    While the Edmonton Eskimos have been busy on the housecleaning front under general manager Eric Tillman, their team isn't going to be entirely built of new faces this year. In their search for roster consistency, the team's brought in plenty of guys who have played for Tillman or head coach Kavis Reed in previous stops. Their latest addition is 37-year-old veteran quarterback Kerry Joseph, who played under Tillman in both Ottawa and Saskatchewan as well as in a brief stint with the Eskimos last fall.

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  • Jordan Matechuk's steroids arrest may spell trouble for CFL

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    A quirk of geography may have proven disastrous for Hamilton Tiger-Cats' long-snapper and linebacker Jordan Matechuk—and it could have implications for the CFL as a whole as well. Matechuk was apparently heading to Hamilton from Alberta for training camp May 31 when he was arrested for possession of anabolic steroids at the International Bridge border crossing between Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. News of his arrest came out Tuesday thanks to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which tends to spotlight unusual cases. A professional football player caught with "543 anabolic steroid pills, 262 millilitres of anabolic steroids in liquid form, 1.25 grams of marijuana, 19 syringes, and 51 replacement needles" certainly qualifies there.

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  • Walter Spencer's incredible comeback

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    The Montreal Alouettes' training camp is producing some of the most interesting stories of the CFL pre-season so far. We've already talked about linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette's battle to keep his leg and the Alouettes' decision to cut former star NFL running back Ahman Green, but the story of linebacker Walter Spencer is just as notable. Spencer was stabbed twice in a Montreal bar last September, once in the heart, and his very survival was in question. Now, he's back on the field and competing to make the team again, but his memories of his frightening past few months are still vividly clear. In a piece published Tuesday, Spencer opened up to The Gazette 's Herb Zurkowsky about what he went through last fall. It makes for incredible reading, particularly the part where Spencer talks about how he didn't notice the pain en route to hospital, but felt his body shutting down:

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  • Ahman Green cut, showing NFL pedigrees don't mean much

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    If you look at their roster heading into this past week's training camp, the Montreal Alouettes had plenty of players with NFL experience of one sort or another. New cornerback Dwight Anderson had previously been a member of the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers before spending the last four seasons in the CFL, while linebacker Chip Cox had spent time with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins and slotback Jamal Richardson was briefly with the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. Unlike those players, though, the man in camp with the most NFL experience and success is no longer an Alouette, as the team announced Sunday that they'd released former Green Bay Packers' star running back Ahman Green, who they'd signed earlier this offseason. Green reportedly sustained a hamstring injury in camp, and the Alouettes didn't want to wait for him to heal.

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  • Marc-Olivier Brouillette's battle to keep his leg

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    Earning a place in the CFL is sometimes seen as one long battle. Players first have to do enough to be drafted or receive a camp invite, then more to make the roster, then more still to see playing time and then even more to keep their jobs. It's not an easy struggle by any means, but every now and then, a story comes out that reminds us that the battle for a CFL job is really a minor one in the grand scheme of things. That's the case with this Versus Quebec story from Anthony Côté-Leduc, on Montreal Alouettes' linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette and how he almost lost his leg last year.

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  • CFL officials getting their own position coaches

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    The CFL announced today that they'll be introducing position coaches for officials this year, adding four positions to their officiating staff. Famed former referee Jake Ireland will serve as the referee coach, while Bill Wright is the umpire coach, Brent Buchko will handle the officials who work the line of scrimmage and Al McColman will work with the deep officials. All have a notable amount of experience officiating in the area they're working with. CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins said in the league's release the plan is designed to help each individual group of officials receive specific coaching on how to get better.

    "Much like a football team has a quarterback coach, our officials will now have a referee coach," Higgins said. "The different officiating positions on the field each have very different responsibilities. Now with position coaches we will have a consistent voice coaching our officials in the four areas we have designated."

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  • Why Terrelle Pryor isn't coming north, but Mitch Mustain is

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post had an interesting piece today that asked the question, "Should Terrelle Pryor head for Canada?" (For those unfamiliar, Pryor is currently the quarterback at Ohio State and he's become prominently embroiled in the scandal that's already led to the resignation of head coach Jim Tressel, pictured above right talking to Pryor during a 2010 game against Eastern Michigan.) Pryor already is set to miss the first five games of the 2011 NCAA season as a penalty for accepting improper benefits, but he could wind up missing the whole year depending on what the separate NCAA probe into his actions (including his car and license issues) finds. As Fortenbaugh writes, "It's time to get the hell out of Dodge."

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  • CFL Camp Countdown: Eskimos search for consistency

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    Okay, so the name is somewhat a misnomer, as they actually started training camp Wednesday. Still, here's the last entry in the CFL Camp Countdown preview series, looking at the Edmonton Eskimos and some of their interesting storylines heading into training camp. This is based off Tuesday's conference call with Edmonton club president Rick LeLacheur and head coach Kavis Reed (general manager Eric Tillman was on another call with an agent, and not available for comment). Highlights are below in point form.

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  • CFL Camp Countdown: Riders' air force takes a hit

    Andrew Bucholtz at Andrew Bucholtz2 yrs ago

    June 1 officially marks the first day of the CFL's training camps, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders had already seen notable attrition before opening camp today. Continuing our training camp preview series, here are some musings on the Roughriders from last week's preview conference call (transcript here) and a host of late-breaking developments that have happened since then.

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  • Unsigned Roughriders pick opts to try the NBA

    Neate Sager at Neate Sager2 yrs ago

    In negotiations, it is always good to have a fallback position — and Saskatchewan Roughriders second-rounder Matt O'Donnell and his agent have come up with a doozy.

    David Naylor reported late Tuesday that the 6-foot-11, 340-pound offensive tackle, who had some NFL interest prior to being taken by the 'Riders, is working out for the NBA's Boston Celtics, another fanatically beloved franchise which wears green. Either it's a risk worth taking for the big man or one hell of a stalling tactic to employ while the NFL lockout drags on ad nauseam. From TSN.ca:

    O'Donnell recently informed the Roughriders that he won't be attending the opening of rookie camp this week while he pursues a workout with the NBA's Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

    "He wanted to go to that workout so we said we can't stand in his way with a tryout for an NBA team," said Roughriders general manager Brendan Taman. "But it's concerning to us because when is he coming. We're moving on obviously."

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