Archive for the ‘CFL’ Category

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed international free-agent receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux to a one-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Arceneaux (6’2 – 210) has signed with the Riders after eight CFL seasons with the BC Lions.

Through 129 career regular-season games, Arceneaux has registered 556 receptions for 8,169 yards and 55 touchdowns. He has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark four times (2010, 15-17) including a career-high 1,566 yards in 2016.

Last season, the 31-year-old Alcorn State product had 32 catches for 553 yards and one touchdown in nine regular-season games.

Arceneaux was named a CFL All-Star in 2015 and 2016, and a West Division All-Star in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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The Calgary Stampeders have retained the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player from 2018, signing quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to a new four-year contract Tuesday.

Mitchell led the Stampeders to victory in the 106th Grey Cup to cap off an incredible campaign, and he was named the game’s most valuable player.

The 28-year-old became Calgary’s starting quarterback in 2014 and has developed into arguably the league’s premier player. He led the CFL with 35 touchdown passes in 2018.

Mitchell was highly sought after as a free agent, reportedly receiving contract offers from the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The signal-caller worked out for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in December, but he didn’t sign a contract.

Mitchell is a two-time CFL All-Star, and a two-time winner of the Most Outstanding Player award.

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The Edmonton Eskimos have signed quarterback Trevor Harris through the 2020 season, the team announced Tuesday.

The 32-year-old’s contract with the Eskimos is a two-year deal worth $1.1 million, sources told TSN’s Matthew Scianitti.

Harris will replace Mike Reilly, who officially signed with the BC Lions earlier Tuesday after six seasons in Edmonton.

“I’m excited to join the City of Champions and Edmonton Eskimos led by Brock Sunderland and Jason Maas,” Harris said in a statement. “I’m very blessed to have their belief and I’m excited to get to work and start our pursuit to the Grey Cup with my teammates.”

Harris led the Ottawa Redblacks to the 2018 Grey Cup game, which they lost to the Calgary Stampeders. He threw for 5,116 yards and 22 touchdowns in 17 games last season.

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In one of the most historic free agent signings in league history, the BC Lions confirmed the signing of former CFL Most Outstanding Player Mike Reilly Tuesday.  The No. 1 free agent on CFL.ca’s Top 30 FA list has committed to four year, $2.9 million deal with his former team in BC.

“This is a historic day for our organization and for fans of the BC Lions,” said GM Ed Hervey. “Acquiring one of the CFL’s elite quarterbacks is an extremely rare opportunity and we’re thrilled to welcome Mike home to the Lions.”

The significance of the signing cannot be understated and ignites a significant domino effect across the league.

The signing became public on Monday evening when TSN’s Ryan Rishaug broke the story about the Lions power move after being given permission to speak to the all-star pivot last week.

“At 8:44 p.m. ET on Monday, February 11th, the tectonic plates of the CFL shifted and the league was left forever changed in its aftermath,” stated CFL.ca senior writer Chris O’Leary Monday night.

 

“It’s an amazing feeling for me, my wife and our extended families to know I am back with the Lions,” said Reilly. “I am grateful for my time in Edmonton and it will always hold a very special place in my heart, but the opportunity to rejoin Ed and return to Vancouver to be part of what he is building was too good to pass up at this point in my career.”

Reilly, who just turned 34 at the end of January, threw for 5,562 yards, 30 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 2018, his sixth season as a member of the Edmonton Eskimos. He’s thrown for at least 5,500 yards in each of his last three seasons.

Before joining the Eskimos in 2013, Reilly spent two seasons with the Lions (2011, 2012). Over his eight-year CFL career, Reilly has suited up in 103 games and has thrown for 27,625 yards, 148 touchdowns and 84 interceptions.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound pivot is a two-time Grey Cup Champion (2011, 2015), was named Grey Cup Most Valuable Player in 2015 and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2017. Reilly was named a CFL All-Star in 2017 and a West Division All-Star in 2014 and 2017.

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When the CFL’s free-agency period opens Tuesday, the BC Lions will sign quarterback Mike Reilly to a four-year deal worth around $700,000 per season, sources told TSN’s Ryan Rishaug.

The Edmonton Eskimos were willing to match the offer to retain the defending three-time CFL passing leader, added Rishaug. Edmonton allowed Reilly to speak to teams before free-agency started.

It’s a significant raise for Reilly, who reportedly earned between $400,000 and $500,000 annually over the course of a three-year contract signed with Edmonton in 2016.

The 34-year-old began his career with the Lions, playing for the franchise from 2010-12 before spending the past six seasons with the Eskimos, where he cemented his status as one the league’s premier passers.

Reilly led Edmonton to a Grey Cup victory in 2015 and was named the game’s MVP. He added the regular season’s Most Outstanding Player Award to his collection in 2017 after throwing for 5,830 yards and 30 touchdowns.

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have named Jeremy O’Day the team’s general manager and vice-president of football operations.

O’Day fills the void of Chris Jones, who left the team on Tuesday to take a job with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

“I am very pleased to announce Jeremy O’Day as the franchises next general manager,” stated Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds. “Jeremy is a true leader and highly respected throughout the CFL.

“I have complete confidence he will continue to guide our team in the right direction. He is a quality person and more than ready to assume this position.”

This is O’Day’s second tenure as the Riders’ general manager after he was named the franchises 15th GM on Aug. 31, 2015 – a positional he held on an interim basis for the final nine games of that season.

“First of all, I want to thank Craig Reynolds and the entire organization for the support and opportunity to be named the clubs general manager,” stated O’Day. “I am excited to get to work and look forward to the challenges and successes that are ahead.”

The 44-year-old O’Day is entering his 21st season of consecutive service with the Roughriders.

The former Roughriders offensive lineman moved into the front office after retiring as a player in February 2011, accepting the position of football operations coordinator. In 2012 he was named assistant general manager, a position he held for the next four years.

In December of 2015, O’Day was named vice president of football operations and administration under Chris Jones. In this role, O’Day led many day-to-day football operations activities, including player evaluations, contract negotiations, and coordinating training camp, mini camps and free-agent camps. He also participated in the scouting of NFL, NCAA and U Sports games.

O’Day’s playing career in the CFL began in 1997, when he joined the Toronto Argonauts after a standout career at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He played two seasons with the Argos, winning a Grey Cup with them in 1997.

In 1999, O’Day signed as a free agent with Saskatchewan and spent the next 12 seasons on the Riders’ offensive line. He started 202 regular-season games for Saskatchewan, which ranks him 12th on the club’s all-time list of games played. He also appeared in 16 playoff games and three Grey Cup games with the Roughriders, helping them win the CFL title in 2007.

O’Day won his third Grey Cup in 2013 when he was a member of Saskatchewan’s front office.

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Diego Jair Viamontes Cotera eventually dealt with the nerves that came with the combine on Sunday.

Once the 28-year-old receiver was on the field at Estadio Azul in Mexico City, the game put him at ease, like it always does.

He wasn’t ready for what came on Monday.

Surrounded by his friends, family, coaches, teammates and opponents in the LFA, Cotera was chosen first overall in the CFL-LFA draft. The room went up when his name was announced and it looked like he had to stop to take congratulations from every person in front of him before he made his way to the stage, where the Edmonton Eskimos awaited him.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said after the draft, still wearing the Esks’ green and gold hat atop his head.

“I heard my number and I started to think, is that really my number? After they said my name, I couldn’t believe it.”

The rush of being the first-ever player chosen in the CFL and LFA’s partnership and having what has been a long and challenging dream acknowledged by a league over 4,000 kms away were emotions he couldn’t have prepared for. He made his way up to the stage, shook all of the hands he needed too and smiled for the photos.

Players chosen in Monday’s draft had their rights linked to the teams that chose them. They weren’t offered contracts but did sign a commitment letter. That’s where things got difficult for Cotera.

“I was out there signing the commitment letter and I stopped,” he said. “I was looking at the letter and the guy in charge said, to sign it. I said, ‘I’m not reading it, I’m shaking. I can’t write.’”

He eventually put pen to paper to confirm the deal.

“(Signing the letter) it really hit me. I’m very thankful for the organization of the Edmonton Eskimos for putting this trust in me. They won’t regret it.”

David Turner, the Esks’ new director of player personnel and Bobby Merritt, the team’s director of scouting, were on hand in Mexico City through the weekend in place of GM Brock Sunderland. Turner said he was impressed by Cotera throughout the combine on Sunday. Cortera had the top shuttle time in the combine, at 4.20 seconds.

“He was really a polished route runner, had good speed. He’s a guy that had really good concentration when he was looking at the ball, really working it in,” he said.

“He was probably top-two in hands and we really liked how he ran his routes. Those were the big things for us.

“The intangibles were the personality, the energy he brought all day. He was happy throughout the process. It was a long day but even at the end he was excited. Talking to him through the day he seemed to be a good person.

“We talked to him about moving up there (to Edmonton), and being a part of that process, he was excited about it. That’s the kind of energy you hope to gain from getting a player like Diego in this process.”

Last year, playing for Mayas in the LFA, Cotera had 26 catches for 519 yards and seven touchdowns. The five-foot-10, 189-pound receiver said he started his career with the Raptors in Naucalpan, just northwest of Mexico City, but didn’t start to have success until he was traded to Mayas.

“After they traded me to the Mayas I really started to enjoy the play,” Cotera said.

“I think with football, the more you enjoy it the more it gives to you. Last season was very good for me, I ended (fourth) in receiving yards and I’m looking forward to this season in the LFA.”

Cotera also impressed Turner and Merritt with his knowledge of the Canadian game. He said he’s been watching the CFL for a couple of years and was familiar with the Esks.

“I know Edmonton and their history,” he said. “They have the second-most Grey Cup wins and very good players.”

“He said he’d watched some games, he knew what it is,” Turner said.

Turner said that Cotera, along with their second-round pick, linebacker Daniel Carrete and their third-round pick, defensive back Jose Alfonsin Romero, were all smart kids and said that they needed to draft smart people to make the move to Canada work.

“If you talk to any of them, they’re smart kids sand that’s important. They’re going to come up, deal with culture shock, weather shock, all that stuff,” he said.

“You want smart kids, good character kids, hard workers. We said (on Sunday) night we really felt all three of them were that. On top of their skills on the field they were that.”

There are still details to iron out with the partnership. Part of the upcoming CBA negotiation between the league and the CFL Players Association will have to include how the Mexican players are designated and where they might fit in if they aren’t on an active roster. Teams will have to figure out if they’ll invite all three of their draft picks to rookie camps and/or training camps as well. BC and Winnipeg indicated to TSN’s Dave Naylor that they would bring all three of their picks up for camp, like they would any other new players.

“The directive we got from (Sunderland) was to come down here and find the best guys. By getting the No. 1 overall pick in every round I think we were able to do that,” Turner said.

“Each guy has intangibles that will help them get on our roster. Now how they get on our roster is up to them. They’re going to have to compete and figure out a spot for themselves.”