Posts Tagged ‘Edmonton Eskimos’

Four-time Grey Cup winner Ricky Ray announced his retirement from the CFL after 16 seasons in a press conference Wednesday.

One of the most prolific passers in league history, Ray ends his career as one of just four quarterbacks with more than 60,000 passing yards and ranks fifth all time with 324 touchdowns. The 39-year-old also retires as the most accurate passer to ever suit up in the CFL with a 68.2 career completion percentage.

“I just wanted to be a player that teammates and fans and the organization could believe in, could be proud of that I was going to go out there and play my best every week,” said Ray. 

“That’s what I tried to do, perform my best and be a good leader, lead by example.”

Speculation regarding the likely Hall of Famer’s future had been ongoing since he suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week 2. With Ray a free agent, the Toronto Argonauts said they were moving forward with James Franklin as their starter.

The 39-year-old won his first two titles with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2003 and 2005 before being traded to the Argonauts after the 2011 campaign.

He won a Grey Cup in his first year with the Argos. Six years later, he helped shock the heavily favored Calgary Stampeders to earn his fourth championship.

Following his first title in 2004, Ray was signed as a backup by the New York Jets. He returned to Canada the next year and won the lone Grey Cup Most Valuable Player award of his career.

The Edmonton Eskimos have no immediate plans to change their name.

The CFL franchise has spent the past couple of years speaking with Inuit leaders and conducting research on the impact of the Eskimos name on the Inuit community. And the club plans to do much more before being in a position to determine the final results of its efforts.

Despite a social media report Monday suggesting Edmonton would be changing its name to Empire, Allan Watt, a marketing and communications official with the Eskimos, said there’s nothing imminent regarding a new team monicker.

“We’ve been doing many phases of research and been up north and done extensive research there,” Watt said. “It was not about changing our name.

“It was asking (Inuit leaders) about how they feel about our name. And there’s a big difference between the two.”

On Friday, McGill University announced it was changing the name of its men’s varsity sports teams, who were called the Redmen. Suzanne Fortier, McGill’s principal and vice-chancellor said the name made Indigenous students feel alienated.

Watt said the Edmonton club purposefully hired and international research company to help them gather information on the potential impact of the Eskimos’ name on the Inuit community.

“When we embarked on this process, one of the things we wanted to do was make sure that we were getting answers from people without us in the room,” he said. “There’s only one way to do that and that’s get somebody else asking.

“This is something that’s been our name since 1910 . . . and we want to make the right decisions, not quick decisions. We’d be remiss if we didn’t do extensive research, if we didn’t do it thoroughly and if we didn’t do it in the north. . . . none of us should pretend to speak for people who are Inuit.”

Watt said there’s no timetable regarding when the research results will be compiled. Until that’s done, it’s unfair to speculate whether the CFL club will or won’t change its name.

“We don’t have the research results so there’s no point,” he said. “We’re not researching a name change, we’re researching how people feel about our name.”

The Eskimos name is near and dear to CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s heart. The veteran offensive lineman finished his career in Edmonton (1989-93), winning a Grey Cup with the franchise in his final season before retiring.

Shortly after becoming commissioner, Ambrosie commended the Eskimos for the process they were taking regarding their team name. But he also admitted a name change would be difficult to imagine, given all the memories he has as a former Eskimos player.

“When you’ve got jerseys tucked away that you’ll want pass on to your kids and maybe grandkids one day because you’re so proud of it . . . the idea of that name going away is hard to fathom,” Ambrosie told The Canadian Press. “But I also know times change and so we have the conversation and we see where it takes us.”

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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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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.”

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.

Kevin Glenn is now the most well-travelled player in CFL history.

The free-agent quarterback agreed to a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos on Monday, nearly two weeks after being released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The 38-year-old will likely serve as Mike Reilly‘s primary backup.

The deal makes Glenn the first player in league history to have his rights held by all nine teams, according to CFL.ca.

Kevin Glenn career timeline

*Traded prior to appearing

In 17 games for the Roughriders last season, Glenn completed 318 of 468 passes for 4,038 yards and 25 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.

Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has denied sexual harassment claims levied against him by a former executive assistant and intends to fight the allegation in court.

lawsuit filed in California on Monday accused Moon of sexual harassment, sexual battery, and discrimination based on sex, among other damages.

“Warren Moon has yet to be served with the lawsuit … but he is aware of the claims contained in it,” Moon’s attorney Daniel Fears said in a statement obtained by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “Mr. Moon contends these claims are meritless, and he has every intention to vigorously defend himself in court.”

The accuser was hired as Moon’s executive assistant in July, traveling around the country with him to various speaking engagements and appearances. However, she was demoted by Moon’s marketing firm after she complained about his alleged sexual advances.