November 20, 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Secondhand Eight, your one-stop shop for all the best CFL stories from around the web. As always, feel free to send me tips for next week's edition via e-mail or Twitter. Enjoy!
This week's edition starts in Montreal, but not with the current Alouettes. It was announced today that legendary former Alouette Tony Proudfoot (pictured above in August) would be the 2010 recipient of the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award. Proudfoot won two Grey Cups with the Alouettes and was named a league all-star twice; he also played with B.C., has worked as a colour commentator on Alouettes' radio broadcasts and has been heavily involved with the Montreal community. He's a deserving winner of one of the CFL's greatest awards.
Proudfoot's story isn't entirely a happy one, though. In 2007, he announced he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or "Lou Gehrig's Disease". It's a horrible neurogenative disease, and it's terminal within six years in 90 per cent of cases. It's also been linked to repeated concussions recently. While the research on that front is still very new, it's possible that Proudfoot's football career played a role in the struggles he now faces, and it's quite likely that more football players may find themselves in similar straits down the road.
That makes Proudfoot's reaction to this disease even more inspiring, however. Rather than sink into depression or call for pity, he's been actively working to promote awareness of ALS and raise funds for further research ever since his diagnosis. He's written about his battle with ALS for The Montreal Gazette, and he's raised over $500,000 for the ALS Society of Quebec. It's incredible to see the way he's fought back against unbelievable odds, and that's why it's so great to see the CFL recognize one of their former stars this way.
Montreal: There are plenty of interesting stories around the current Alouettes as well this week. Herb Zurkowsky has more on their curious decision to release Larry Taylor yesterday, and there's a good Canadian Press piece on Diamond Ferri's trash-talk attempts. They'll also be looking for ways to shut down Chad Owens, another star kick returner they recently cast off. The special teams battle is going to be an interesting one to watch Sunday.
Toronto: On the Argonauts' front, Bruce Arthur has a great piece on how Jim Barker's got the team to believe in his system. Mark Masters profiles Adriano Belli (whose charitable efforts I wrote about earlier this year), and Damian Cox had a nice look at how Rob Murphy's gone from dirty to disciplined without losing any of his outstanding form. Dan Ralph also has an interesting story on Byron Parker drawing inspiration from injured teammates like Willie Middlebrooks and Alphonso Hodge.
Hamilton: In Steeltown, the Tiger-Cats are preparing for a massive roster overhaul after falling short in the East semi-final. Sandro DeAngelis, who went from outstanding kicker to goat after relocating from Calgary to Hamilton in the offseason, still can't explain how he missed a 17-yard field goal in that one, and he might just be one of the Tiger-Cats on the way out. If so, he'll hope to emulate former Hamilton castoff J.P. Bekasiak, who's gone on to become a valuable part of Montreal's team.
Winnipeg: Despite their team's 4-14 record, there were still some highlights in Winnipeg this season. The Blue Bombers earned four league all-star nods, more than both Saskatchewan and Montreal, and Doug Brown added another feather to his cap with one of those nominations, but he's still thinking about if he'll be back next year. Elsewhere, current Saskatchewan general manager Brendan Taman (a former Blue Bombers' boss) defended his record in Winnipeg, and the Eskimos have made their interest in Winnipeg defensive coordinator Kavis Reed official.
Saskatchewan: On the Riders' front, Rod Pedersen writes that both Omarr Morgan and Barrin Simpson are likely to play Sunday, which is very good news for fans of the green and white. With rumours flying about Ken Miller perhaps moving into management at the conclusion of this season, several of the Roughriders reflected on his tenure so far. As for Sunday's game, Mitchell Blair figures it will be a game of bounces, with a lot of the work done on the ground thanks to the conditions, but he sees the Riders coming up out on top, as does Rob Vanstone.
Calgary: For the Stampeders, it's looking like the matchup of all-star cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson against the high-powered Saskatchewan receiving corps might prove to be a crucial one Sunday. Ian Busby reports that the Stampeders are optimistic heading into the West Final, and he also has an interesting piece on the Calgary linebacking corps, featuring three starters who originally played other positions with the team.Wes Gilbertson has some notes on the rivalry, including that no current Stampeder hails from Saskatchewan, Allen Cameron focuses on Nik Lewis and George Johnson takes a look at the role the weather might play.
Edmonton: The main story in Edmonton is the Eskimos' aforementioned interest in Reed as a head-coaching candidate, but Gerry Moddejonge has a good piece on their lone all-star, defensive back Chris Thompson. Thompson is a free agent, so it will be interesting to see how aggressively general manager Eric Tillman tries to bring him back. Mario Annicchiarico has a piece on Ricky Ray's hopes to return, and John MacKinnon takes a look at former general manager Danny Maciocia's new job as the head coach of the University of Montreal Carabins. There's also a controversy developing over free Grey Cup tickets for MLAs and city councillors
B.C.: Out west, the knives have come out following the season, with more disturbing revelations about just how badly-liked Casey Printers was by his teammates before his unceremonious exit. Mike Beamish also takes a look at if Paris Jackson will be returning to the Lions. It's going to be an interesting off-season in B.C., as even Wally Buono's role for the coming season hasn't officially been clarified yet.
CIS: The gang over at The CIS Blog have previews of tomorrow's Uteck (Laval - Western) and Mitchell (Saint Mary's - Calgary) Bowls, both of which will be broadcast on TSN (at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Eastern respectively), and David Grossman of The Toronto Star has a good piece on Western linebacker Jason Kosec and the physical and academic challenges he's overcome. Over at The Score's University Rush blog, Arden Zwelling has a breakdown of the Western lineup and former CIS quarterback Justin Dunk has his predictions for the weekend. I'll have a recap of both CIS games here tomorrow night as well.