STAMPS TO THE ALOUETTES

January 18th, 2015

MONTREAL – The Montreal Alouettes announced on Friday that the club has acquired international all-star slotback Fred Stamps in return for international receiver Kenny Stafford. The eight-year CFL veteran is coming to Montreal following an already highly productive career.

Stamps (6’00”, 188 lbs.) spent his entire CFL-career in an Edmonton Eskimos uniform. The New-Orleans, LA native made his way into the Eskimos’ record book as he ranks third with 496 career-receptions as well as second all-time with 7,932 receiving yards.

“Fred Stamps has been one of the top receivers in the CFL over the last 5 years,” declared Alouettes General Manager, Jim Popp. “This addition adds strength, character, and another high level performer to our solid receiving core.”

In only 12 outings last season, the 33-year-old receiver recorded 545 receiving-yards on 33 catches, while scoring two touchdowns. He was named the Eskimos’ most outstanding player in 2009, 2010 and 2013. In Montreal, he will join his former teammate with the Louisiana-Lafayette University Ragin’ Cajuns, Kyries Hebert.

From 2009 to 2013, Stamps registered five straight 1,000-plus receiving-yards seasons. That stellar streak allowed him to be named on the CFL’s all-star team four times (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013). He topped the CFL in receiving yards in 2009 and 2013 with gains of 1,402 and 1,259 yards respectively.

Before making the leap into the CFL, Stamps had joined the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent in 2004. He also suited up for the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

RIDERS RE-SIGN WELDON BROWN

January 15th, 2015

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international linebacker Weldon Brown has signed an extension to remain with the team. As per club policy, financial details of the contract were not released.

Brown (5’10 – 185) will be entering his sixth CFL season and third year with the Roughriders after originally signing with the team as a free agent in February, 2013. Last season, the Louisiana Tech product registered 54 defensive tackles, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and a quarterback sack in 14 regular season games. He added five defensive tackles and an interception in the Western Semi-Final.

Brown originally entered the CFL in 2010 when he signed with Edmonton as a free agent. He spent three seasons with the Eskimos before joining the Riders ahead of the 2013 season. The 27-year-old has started 67 of 75 regular season games he has played, totaling 235 defensive tackles, eight interceptions and seven quarterback sacks. He won his first Grey Cup with the Riders in 2013.

** In a media availablility Thursday morning, Brown told reporters he very briefly considered going to free agency and seeing his worth on the open market but quickly decided Saskatchewan is where he wants to remain.  He also said his family has made Regina its year-round home.  Brown also said he’s comfortable with the direction of the team under Corey Chamblin and new Defensive Coordinator Greg Quick.  He felt the defense last season was aggressive but possibly could be even moreso.

Rider GM Brendan Taman noted that Brown was one of their top defensive performers in 2014 and although his numbers may have dropped off somewhat from the 2013 campaign, that may be due to the fact Weldon played at an exceptional level during the Grey Cup championship season and set the bar for himself extremely high.

Taman also said talks continue with what he called “The Big Three” of pending free agents: Weston Dressler, Ben Heenan and Tyron Brackenridge however no announcement on signings is imminent.

CFL MOVES

January 14th, 2015

Calgary Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel is pleased to announce the re-signing of international linebacker Glenn Love. As per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Love, who had been eligible to become a free agent in February, played 15 regular-season games during the 2014 season. He excelled on special teams as he ranked second on the Stampeders and eighth in the CFL with 20 special-teams tackles. Love was named the CFL’s special teams player of the week for Week 18 after making a career-high four special-teams tackles in a 40-27 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The 25-year-old UCLA product also served as a backup linebacker for the Red and White in 2014 and made one start on defence. Love had seven defensive tackles for the season and had four tackles and a sack during a July 12 game against Toronto.

“I’m very pleased that Glenn has made the decision to remain with the Stampeders,” said Hufnagel. “He has been an excellent special-teams player for us and has also made valuable contributions on defence when called upon.”

Love signed with the Stampeders as a free agent on Aug. 28, 2013, after starting his CFL career with the BC Lions in 2012. In 20 career games, he has recorded 16 defensive tackles, 22 special-teams tackles and two sacks.

“I’ve enjoyed my time in Calgary and it was an easy choice to stay with the Stampeders,” said Love. “We have a great coaching staff, a great group of players and great fans and I’m looking forward to the new season and to putting in the hard work that will be necessary as we try to repeat as Grey Cup champions.”

EDMONTON (CP) – The Edmonton Eskimos signed former Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch to a contract Wednesday.

The 24-year-old quarterback spent four seasons at Northern Illinois and in 2013 was a finalist for the Heisman, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in U.S. college football. Lynch finished third in the voting behind winner Jameis Winston of Florida State and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.

Lynch, a six-foot, 216-pound Chicago native, completed 509 of 824 passes (61.8 per cent) over his college career with 51 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also had 4,343 career rushing yards on 662 carries for 48 touchdowns.

Lynch signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent last year and was converted to the running back position. He had 13 carries for 42 yards in two pre-season games before he was waived.

RIDERS HIRE QUICK AS D.C.

January 12th, 2015

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced the hiring of Greg Quick as Defensive Coordinator.

Greg Quick arrives in Saskatchewan with a wealth of coaching experience spanning over 30 years in both the professional and collegiate levels. Most recently Quick was the linebackers coach for the Montreal Alouettes in 2014.

Quick joined the Northwood University Timberwolves as the team’s offensive coordinator for the 2012 season after spending the 2010 and 2011 seasons as linebackers coach with the Toronto Argonauts.

Quick’s coaching career dates back to 1979 when he was named the defensive coordinator at Emporia State. He then went on to Heidelberg College as offensive coordinator in 1985 before moving to New Mexico State where he was linebackers coach. His first head coaching experience at the collegiate level came at the University of Chicago in 1989, a position he held for five seasons. He was then the head coach at St. Norbert College from 1994 to1999 before eventually holding the same role at Concord University from 2003 to 2008.

RIDERS EXTEND MAZE, K. WILLIAMS

January 9th, 2015

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international defensive back Terrell Maze and international receiver Korey Williams have signed extensions to remain with the team. As per club policy, financial details of the contracts were not released.

Maze (5’11 – 175) will be entering his fourth year with the Roughriders after originally signing with the team as a free agent in April, 2012. Last season, the San Diego State product started 17 regular season games at half back where he collected 34 defensive tackles, nine pass knockdowns, two tackles for loss, one quarterback sack and one recovered fumble. His lone interception was returned 28 yards for a game winning touchdown August 7th in Winnipeg.

The 30-year-old Maze has started all 46 regular season games he has played through three seasons, totaling 106 defensive tackles and two interceptions.

Williams (6’ – 185) will remain with the Green and White for his third CFL season and second with the Riders. Last season the NorthWest Oklahoma State product registered ten receptions for 142 yards and one touchdown, while adding one rush attempt for 18 yards and a touchdown in four regular season appearances. He also added two receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Western Semi-Final.

The 27-year-old joined the Riders as a free agent in July, 2014. He originally entered the CFL with the B.C. Lions ahead of the 2013 season where he went on to play 15 regular season games. Williams was eligible to become a free agent on February 10th.

· The Riders also announced Ron Selesky has joined the Club as a US based scout. Selesky has over 17 years of professional football management and supervisory experience, including six as a head coach. He spent last season as the assistant head coach with the Cleveland Gladiators of Arena Football League where he was named 2014 AFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

CFL ROUND-UP

January 9th, 2015

MONTREAL – The Montreal Alouettes solidified their offensive line Thursday, signing veteran Jeff Perrett and CFL rookie Philip Blake to three-year contracts.

The six-foot-six 330-pound Perrett was the East Division’s top lineman this past season, anchoring an offensive line that allowed just 31 sacks, second-fewest in the CFL. Perrett, 30, a native of Lethbridge, Alta., has spent his entire eight-year career with Montreal.

“Jeff is not only an outstanding football player for our team, but he is also one of the most respected players in the locker-room for his leadership and his infectious personality,” Montreal GM Jim Popp said in a statement. “He is a very important part for us to retain in order to have continued success on the field and in the community.”

Montreal selected the six-foot-two 311-pound Blake in the third round (23rd overall) in the 2011 CFL draft but the Toronto native opted to return to Baylor University for his senior season.

The 29-year-old centre was a fourth-round pick of the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

He spent two seasons in Denver before signing with Arizona. Blake was on the Cardinals’ practice roster in 2013.

CALGARY – The Calgary Stampeders re-signed Canadian receiver Simon Charbonneau-Campeau on Thursday.

The 26-year-old St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native was scheduled to become a free agent next month. Calgary acquired Charbonneau-Campeau from Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Jan. 6, 2014.

He appeared in 14 regular-season games for Calgary and established career highs with 13 catches for 233 yards and scored his first career touchdown Sept. 6 against Edmonton. Charbonneau-Campeau added two receptions for 74 yards in the West final and had a catch for 28 yards in the Stampeders’ 20-16 Grey Cup win over Hamilton.

The former Sherbrooke star also had seven special-teams tackles with Calgary.

“I’m pleased that Simon has chosen to remain with the Stampeders,” Calgary head coach/GM John Hufnagel said in a statement. “He was an excellent addition to the team in 2014 as he made some very important catches and was a great asset on special teams.

“I look forward to his continued development in his second season with us.”

Charbonneau-Campeau played two seasons in Hamilton and in 41 career CFL games has 22 catches for 348 yards and one touchdown.

The BC Lions Football Club announced this morning that veteran Canadian special teams ace Jason Arakgi and offensive lineman Cam Thorn have signed contract extensions with the team through 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Aragki, who was set to become a free agent next month, enjoyed another productive season appearing in all 18 regular season games in 2014. The club’s third-round selection in the 2008 CFL Draft has now played 121 career games for the Lions in addition to nine playoff appearances and the 2011 Grey Cup championship.

In 2014, Jason not only notched a team-high 23 special teams tackles, he also broke the club’s all-time mark held by Sean Millington (140) and now sits alone with 158 for his career. Over the past seven seasons, no CFL player has more stops on special teams than Arakgi who has never recorded a season with fewer than 14.

Thorn was the club’s seventh-round selection in the 2013 CFL Draft and comes off his first season as a pro after returning to Guelph for his final year of CIS eligibility following Lions training camp in 2013. Seeing action on short yardage situations and dressing as the team’s sixth offensive lineman,

Thorn saw the field in all 18 regular season games in 2014 as well as the postseason.

OTTAWA — The Ottawa REDBLACKS of the Canadian Football League have signed four players from the 2014 CFL Draft:

•Offensive tackle Aaron Wheaton (Toronto)
•Defensive end Stephon Miller (Windsor)
•Long snapper Kevin Malcolm (McMaster)
•Defensive end Vincent Desloges (Laval)

Wheaton, Miller and Desloges attended REDBLACKS training camp last season.

The team also announced two other transactions:
•Released international running back D.J. Harper
•Released international running back Michael Hayes

HIGGINS, HUFNAGEL & JONES NAMED FINALISTS

January 7th, 2015

The Canadian Football League announced today the finalists for the 2014 Annis Stukus Trophy, awarded to the CFL Coach of the Year. As voted by 65 members of the Football Reporters of Canada, the finalists are Montreal Alouettes Head Coach, Tom Higgins, Calgary Stampeders Head Coach and General Manager John Hufnagel, and Edmonton Eskimos Head Coach, Chris Jones.

The 2014 CFL Coach of the Year will be presented the Annis Stukus Trophy on January 21, 2015 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as part of the CFL’s annual Congress.

Chris Jones – Edmonton Eskimos
In his first season at the coaching helm for the Edmonton Eskimos first-year head coach Chris Jones helped lead the Esks to a 12-6 record and second place in the West Division, capping the biggest turnaround by any CFL team in 2014.

The Esks stormed out of the gate to begin the season 4-0, a mark the team has not completed since 2011. The momentum continued throughout the season thanks to a balanced offence and anchored by the defence.

The Esks went on to claim second place in the West Division and hosted their first playoff game since the 2011 season.
Jones’ team led many defensive categories this season including; interceptions, fewest first downs, average gain per pass, fewest yards passing per game, fewest passed completed, lowest points against per game and fewest points to name a few.

This is the first time that Jones has been named a finalist for the Annis Stukus Trophy.

Tom Higgins – Montreal Alouettes
In a year where the Alouettes had to fill the void left by the CFL’s all-time passing leader, Anthony Calvillo, Alouettes head coach Tom Higgins found a way to put an impressive second half of the season together to help lead the Alouettes to a playoff win and a chance for a berth in the 102nd Grey Cup.
After beginning the year 1-7, playoffs seemed like an unlikely possibility until the team rallied and finished the rest of the season with an 8-2 record to finish in second place in the East and earning the right to host the Eastern Semi-Final.

To open the 102nd Grey Cup Playoffs, the Alouettes played their most dominant game of the season knocking off the Lions 50-17 and qualifying for the Eastern Division Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Although the Alouettes came up short against the Ticats, Higgins led the Alouettes to a remarkable in-season turnaround that marked the first time a team had ever fallen six games below .500 and recovered to finish at .500 or better. The Alouettes are also the fourth CFL team to ever start as low as 1-7 and make the playoffs.

Higgins won the Annis Stukus Trophy twice in his career; in 2003 with the Edmonton Eskimos and 2005 as a member of the Calgary Stampeders.

John Hufnagel – Calgary Stampeders
In his seventh season as head coach and general manager of the Stampeders, Hufnagel guided the Stamps to a league-best 15-3 record during the regular season and capped it off with a Grey Cup victory.

The 15 victories were the largest total by a CFL team since 2009 and the best by a West Division team since 1994. The impressive record was accumulated in a very tough West Division with the team being led by a third-year starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and without all-star running back Jon Cornish for several games throughout the season.

The Stamps led the league in a number categories including points scored, away record, most first downs, most yards net rushing, average gain per pass, fewest passes intercepted, fewest yards penalized and fewest quarterback sacks.

This is Hufnagel’s fourth nomination in his career and has won the award once in 2008 as a member of the Calgary Stampeders.

TSN: CORTEZ AND MALONE TO B.C.

January 7th, 2015

The B.C. Lions have made contract offers to the coaching staff, including former Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive coordinator George Cortez.

While Cortez will head up the offence, new head coach Jeff Tedford will be heavily involved with building the offence and potentially calling plays.

Former Roughriders offensive line coach Doug Malone will also be joining Cortez in Vancouver.

Chuck McMann remains as the team’s special teams coach with the addition of running backs coach to his portfolio.

Tedford will also add quality control assistants before training camp begins in June.

(TSN.ca)

***

MEANWHILE…

(Vancouver) The BC Lions Football Club officially confirmed Tuesday afternoon that offensive line coach Dan Dorazio, defensive line coach Carl Hairston, running backs coach Kelly Bates and receivers coach Joe Paopao will not return to the team in 2015.

“My thanks go out to each of these men for their time and their dedication to our club,” said VP of football operations and GM Wally Buono. “We wish them the very best in the future.”

The club will make a formal announcement of its 2015 coaching staff in coming days when all positions have been confirmed by head coach Jeff Tedford.

RIDER TRANSACTIONS

January 6th, 2015

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that national receiver Alex Anthony and national linebacker Ryan Wellman have re-signed with the team. As per club policy, financial details of the contracts were not released.

Anthony (6’2 – 205) will be entering his third year with the Roughriders after originally being selected by the team in the 5th round (39th overall) of the 2013 CFL Draft. Through his first two seasons, the 23-year-old has appeared in four games as a backup receiver registering two receptions for 13 yards.

Wellman (6’6 – 235) will rejoin the Riders for his second CFL season. The University of Regina product got into five regular season games during his 2014 rookie campaign. The 24-year-old saw action mainly on special teams where recorded two tackles.

· The Riders also announced they have released national centre Dominic Picard and national linebacker Tristan Black.

BOMBERS SIGN PICARD

January 6th, 2015

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers today are pleased to announce the club has signed National offensive lineman Dominic Picard.

A veteran of nine CFL seasons, Picard comes over from Saskatchewan where he spent the past three years, twice being named their Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. Picard led what was arguably the league’s best offensive line in 2014, starting 17 of 18 games (missing one due to injury).

He has played in 137 regular season CFL games, starting 129, while also being a part of two Grey Cup games, winning one, and a total of nine playoff games.

“This is a player with great experience in the CFL,” said General Manager Kyle Walters. “He is a tough, hard-nosed football player, and we are excited to bring him into the Bombers organization.”

Included in being named the Riders’ top offensive lineman in 2014 and 2012, he was also the club’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2012.

Prior to joining the Riders, Picard spent three seasons with Toronto, where he was named an East Division All-Star in 2011, as well as the club’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.

Picard was originally drafted by Winnipeg in the third round, 23rd overall, in the 2006 CFL Draft., and played with Winnipeg from 2006-2008.