Archive for the ‘CFL’ Category

The Montreal Alouettes issued a statement Wednesday on quarterback Johnny Manziel, who’s been absent from practice this week:

“On Tuesday morning, Johnny Manziel mentioned to our medical staff that he felt symptoms that could be associated with the prescribed medication he uses for a previously diagnosed medical condition. He then missed practice in order to have some blood work done. In view of the hit he received on Saturday and the potential mitigating side effects of his prescribed medication, the Alouettes medical staff has placed Manziel under the CFL concussion protocol for further observation and precautionary reasons. Manziel will be closely observed and assessed in the next few days.”

Manziel didn’t practise on Tuesday or Wednesday. According to multiple reports, Antonio Pipkin has handled first-team reps in Manziel’s absence, while Matthew Shiltz could also be available.

The Als take on the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday night at the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.

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Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel admitted his CFL debut on Friday was a “humbling experience” after throwing four first-half interceptions against his former team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in a 50-11 defeat.

“It went just about as bad as it could possibly go,” said Manziel, according to TSN.

Manziel only participated in four practices with his new team following a July 22 trade before being thrown into the fire against Hamilton. However, he emphasized the poor outing Friday won’t derail his football comeback.

“Moving forward, this is only going to motivate me,” said Manziel. “I know this is a test. This is a test of my will and my drive, and I’ve put too much time and too much effort (in) to let this get away from me.”

The 25-year-old flashed the scrambling skills that earned him the nickname “Johnny Football” at Texas A&M, but he mostly looked unprepared for the speed of the game. He completed just 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards and no touchdowns to go along with his four picks.

“Bad days happen in football,” said Manziel.

Manziel will likely start his second CFL game on August 8 against the Ottawa RedBlacks.

Johnny Football is on the move.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats dealt quarterback Johnny Manziel and offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice to the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday for Canadian defensive end Jamaal Westerman and receiver Chris Williams as well as 2020 and 2021 first-round picks.

Manziel, 25, made headlines across North America when he signed a two-year contract with Hamilton prior to the start of training camp. The former Heisman Trophy winner appeared in both of the Ticats’ exhibition games — completing 21-of-31 passes for 168 yards and a TD while rushing six times for 19 yards — but didn’t see any regular-season action backing up incumbent Jeremiah Masoli.

Masoli started the season impressively with four straight 300-yard passing performances and a record-tying nine overall dating back to last year. But that streak ended with Thursday night’s 31-20 home loss to Saskatchewan as Masoli completed 20-of-28 passing for 184 yards and an interception.

And that prompted some football pundits to suggest it was time for Manziel to get some playing time with Hamilton.

“Professional salute & respect for ↕Ticats ↕ticatmitchell &Coach Jones for doing the rgt thing.Thank y’all for the opp &great luck in future!” Manziel’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, tweeted Sunday night.

With the departure of Manziel, Dane Evans, a rookie from Tulsa, becomes Masoli’s backup. Hamilton (2-3) hosts the Ottawa Redblacks (3-2) on Saturday afternoon in a battle of the East Division’s top two teams.

Shortly after the deal was made Hamilton announced that it would give away $100 vouchers to fans who bought a Manziel Ticats jersey to purchase ‘new gear’ for Saturday’s game at Tim Hortons Field.

The trade reunites Manziel with Montreal head coach Mike Sherman, who convinced Manziel to play at Texas A&M after he verbally committed to Oregon. As a redshirt freshman, Manziel threw for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 1,410 yards and 21 TDs en route to winning the ’12 Heisman Trophy.

The six-foot, 210-pound Manziel was taken in the first round, No. 22 overall, by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL draft but was released in March 2016 after posting a 2-6 record over two tumultuous campaigns. He appeared in 14 games overall, throwing for 1,675 yards and seven TD passes.

Montreal (1-4) has scored a league-low 69 points this season while allowing a league-high 148 points. What’s more, starter Drew Willy suffered his second injury of the season in Saturday’s 25-8 loss to the Calgary Stampeders, leaving Sherman to go with third-stringer Matt Shiltz for three quarters of the game.

Backup Jeff Mathews, who replaced Willy earlier this season, is also out four-to-six weeks with foot injury. Montreal takes on the Edmonton Eskimos (3-2) on Thursday night.

“We have acquired an exceptional quarterback with undeniable talent,” Montreal GM Kavis Reed said in a statement. “With his great mobility, his athletic abilities and his instinct we believe that he will have a positive impact on our offence.

“Landon Rice and Tony Washington are two skilled players that will considerably solidify our offensive line.”

The six-foot-seven, 318-pound Washington, a nine-year veteran, fills a need for Montreal, which recently released starting tackle Fulton Xavier.

“Thank you to the city of Hamilton for these last 2 amazing years! For the love and support you guys have shown! Crazy biz doesn’t always make sense… keepmoving nextchapter,” Washington tweeted Sunday night.

Westerman, 33, had 19 tackles and three sacks in five games with the Alouettes, who he joined as a free agent this off-season. The six-foot-three, 249-pound Westerman has appeared in 52 career regular-season games with Winnipeg (2015-17) and the Alouettes (2018), registering 137 tackles, 35 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Westerman also played in 58 career NFL games with the New York Jets (2009-11), Arizona Cardinals (2012), Indianapolis Colts (2012), Buffalo Bills (2013) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2013).

Williams, 30, returns for a second stint with Hamilton, The five-foot-eight, 165-pound speedster began his CFL career with the Ticats (2010-12) and was the league’s top rookie before being named its top special-teams performer two years later.

He spent time in the NFL with New Orleans (2013) and Chicago Bears (2013-14) before returning to the CFL with Ottawa (2015-16) and was a member of the Redblacks’ 2016 Grey Cup-winning squad. After spending last season with the B.C. Lions, Williams was dealt to Montreal on Dec. 12, 2017.

He had 15 catches for 283 yards and a TD in four games with the Alouettes.

The optimism surrounding yet another attempt at CFL expansion to Atlantic Canada has been extremely cautious. Besides, many have said they’ve been here before only to have the conversation fall flat.

But since Anthony Leblanc and his business team, Maritime Football, made serious their intention to bring a team to Nova Scotia during Grey Cup week last November, it’s felt different.

Even CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has fanned the football expansion flames, saying “it’s the unfulfilled part of our national dream to have the Maritimes have a football team,” and that it would be a “defining moment” to have a team in the Maritimes.

They’ve all been saying the right things.

Now though, the dream of having a 10th CFL team has reached a pivotal point in the process, one Leblanc says will determine whether or not this will actually happen.

On Tuesday, Halifax regional council approved a motion to begin discussions with Leblanc’s group and the province about the viability of a team and a stadium.

“I think everybody should continue to have the optimism we’ve had all along,” Leblanc told CBC Sports ahead of the vote. “We wouldn’t be getting into a phase of public discussion if we felt we didn’t have good chances of making this happen.”

Leblanc said his team has had a number of conversations with elected officials over the last number of weeks and believes there’s enough support to continue this venture and feels comfortable they’ll be able to move forward.

He said his hope is that administration moves quickly while looking over their proposal to bring a team to Halifax.

“People will say you can’t put deadlines on this, but candidly, we can because we’re the group that’s planning to do this and if we don’t feel we’re moving the ball down the field, we need to look at what our next steps are.”

The deadline Leblanc has suggested is four to six weeks — they want this done by Labour Day. The reason? If they’re able to move forward with the project ahead of Labour Day, they want to start a season-ticket drive for football fans in the region to support a team.

It would be right around this same time — if everything goes as planned — that Leblanc also hopes to have the CFL award Maritime Football a conditional franchise.

But what about the stadium?

Leblanc knows building a stadium and its location are the most important parts of this expansion puzzle. Last week it was reported Maritime Football had narrowed the choice down to two spots. However, that’s since changed.

“That’s speculation,” Leblanc said. “We haven’t publicly confirmed which sites we’re looking at.”

Those two reported sites were Dartmouth Crossing and a property behind the Kent store in Bayers Lake business park. Leblanc says they’ve brought in a new group to help them look more closely at a number of different spots that would be best suited for a multi-purpose development.

“They’ve been working with us for the last several months and I think it’s fair to say we’re somewhat back to the drawing board because they want to understand all the sites.”

Leblanc said they’ve looked at seven locations a stadium could be built.

“What we’re doing over the next two weeks is reaffirming the sites we’ve narrowed down are the right sites. We’re being incredibly thoughtful on this.”

He added the only way they’ll be able to make a stadium situation work is that if it includes the multi-purpose model.

Premier says taxpayers won’t pay for stadium

Last week Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil made it clear taxpayers won’t be on the hook for a CFL stadium in Halifax.

“General revenue is not part of our conversation. I’m not reaching into general revenue to build a football stadium,” he told CBC News.

McNeil said he will wait for the formal ask to discuss how the government might contribute to the stadium, but was clear it wouldn’t come from general revenue.

“If you have another option, you have a new idea of how I can help, feel free to come and ask,” he said. “But don’t come in and expect I’m going to write you a cheque.”

Leblanc says that was never their expectation and interprets the premier’s message this way.

“What he means by that, from what we’ve been told, is they don’t want to see provincial dollars that have already been designated being utilized. We’ve never contemplated that,” Leblanc said.

Leblanc feels new money can be generated from the project and can be put toward building a new stadium.

“We understand as the private sector we have to participate this in a very healthy manner,” Leblanc said.

 

The Edmonton Eskimos have added Terrell Owens to their negotiation list, TSN’s David Naylor reports.

Owens hasn’t played a down since the 2010 NFL season, when he featured for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The six-time Pro Bowler is scheduled to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. Owens recently made headlines for stating that he won’t attend the ceremony. On Monday, he posted an Instagram video that appears to show him running a 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds.

Johnny Manziel has made a very positive first impression on June Jones, head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised the last three weeks what a good teammate he is, how smart he is, how he sees the game,” Jones told David Newton of ESPN. “He should be playing in the National Football League and I believe he will when he gets through with us.”

Manziel reignited his career in May by signing a two-year contract with the Tiger-Cats after spending the last couple of years addressing his well-documented issues off the gridiron.

The former Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns first-round pick impressed in the preseason, but served as the backup quarterback for Jeremiah Masoli in Hamilton’s opening contest of the regular season.

“It’ll take two years,” Jones said of Manziel’s desired return to the NFL. “They’re (NFL executives, coaches) waiting to see that he’s taken care of his off-the-field problems.”

Jones also described Manziel as “humble,” and added that “he’s growing up every day.”

The 25-year-old Manziel is expected to be Masoli’s backup again Friday when the 0-1 Tiger-Cats take on the Edmonton Eskimos.

According to a report by TSN’s Dave Naylor, Maritime Football Ltd. has agreed to a three-step process that could secure a 10th franchise in the Canadian Football League.

The group, which is responsible for trying to bring a CFL team to Halifax, is reportedly in Halifax on Tuesday to meet with city council and to provide an update on the process.

Naylor said Tuesday that part of the update includes some important agreements recently reached with the league.

From potential team names to the activation of a Twitter account by Maritime Football Ltd., the movement to bring a team to Halifax continues to gain momentum ever since coming to light in November.

However, Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, while open to the idea, has maintained that all due diligence will be taken, and the league will take a careful, measured approach to ensure the success of any potential 10th franchise.

One obstacle standing in the way of a potential franchise, which the prospective ownership group hopes to achieve by 2021, is the financing and construction of a stadium.

In February Ambrosie included Halifax on his cross-country road trip to speak to fans in cities around the CFL. The Atlantic Town Hall was both highly-anticipated and well-attended.

According to Naylor, Ambrosie and Anthony LeBlanc, a member of the prospective ownership group, “engaged with Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold and New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant to gauge their support for a team.”