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  #1401  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 6:02 AM
DavefromSt.Vital DavefromSt.Vital is offline
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While it was unfortunate that it started late, once it got going I thought the Argos rally went well, even if some of the speeches were a bit long-winded. With the crowd (and the rest of the players) chanting "One more year" I thought it was quite telling that Ricky Ray commented, "Why not two?".
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  #1402  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 5:59 PM
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O’Leary: Argos architects encourage fans to join ‘The Love Boat’
Chris O'Leary Senior Writer cfl.ca November 29 2017

Jim Popp had barely arrived at the Argos Grey Cup rally before the tears came out.

The team’s general manager was one of the first people from the organization to make his way into the middle of Nathan Phillips Square, at the foot of Toronto’s City Hall downtown. Once he saw and hugged some members of the team’s front office, the 26-year CFL GM couldn’t help himself. As Popp and other members of the team took their turns speaking on Tuesday, you could see why.

The rally was no doubt about the Argos and their incredible come-from-behind Grey Cup win over a favoured Calgary team on Sunday, but it was as much a serving of notice for everyone in Toronto and for the rest of the league about what’s been built in nine short months.

“We know some of you come out to the stadium every game. Some of you once in a while. We know a lot of you follow us,” Popp said when he took the microphone in front of a crowd of fans.

“If you’re not a believer, start believing. Don’t stop believing. If you’re part of us you’re a champion, that’s what I can tell you. You’re a champion today. If you haven’t joined our family, we invite you. We need you. We want you to be a part.

“Join the love boat.”

Grey Cup or no — though the win carries a ton of weight with it — the love boat was built, as coach Marc Trestman described it, piece by piece with a bunch of people on their knees. Construction, Trestman said, started 185 days ago, with the end date of Tuesday’s rally, circled as the mark of completion.

“Buy in, buy into it,” Popp urged. “These players, the staff, the organization, a lot of you out there, you bought into it and you’re a champion today. This city is a champion. We want to expand it, extend it to you. I’m telling you again, join the Love Boat, let’s set sail, achieve our goals, believe in one another as a family does to try and do what’s best.”

If you were walking by on Queen Street unaware of what you were hearing you might have though it was a sales pitch for anything but sports. If you envisioned, as Trestman pointed out, 185 days ago that you’d be hearing any of this, it would sound too absurd to even consider. But Jim Popp’s and Marc Trestman’s love boat is real, with an entire organization of people fully on board and the result — arguably one of the most impressive Grey Cup wins in this league’s history — speaking for itself.

On Sunday, we all saw the Argos’ backbone on the field. Two days later, we saw the team’s heartbeat. Linebacker Marcus Ball explained his Today Is The Day speech, the one he gave on game day to his teammates this year that told them this was the day they conquered their adversity, whatever it may be. Today was the day they win.

“It’s not just about football,” Ball now a two-time Grey Cup winner said. “It’s about life. It’s about love. It’s about you as an individual. Any goal you have, any struggle you are facing, any stress you are facing, you wake up, you set a plan and when you wake up that day you tell yourself, today is the day. You overcome.”

Trestman has long spoken of using football to teach life to his players. His thank yous included the trio of bus drives that took him, his staff and players to practice every day, from their hub of the old grounds of Don Bosco High School to Downsview Park and back. The goal is to win games and championships, but there’s always something bigger in the coach’s messages.

“We tried to blend our talent into a team, because the formula was going to be this: Selflessness and talent leads to love,” he said.

“I want to make it clear. This is big. It wasn’t necessarily talking about love as an emotion. Which we now have. I think you guys would agree. It was love as a commitment to each other. A great man once said, ‘Love is loyalty, love is teamwork — ‘“

A perfectly pitched voice interrupted the coach, professing its love for equipment manager Danny Webb.

“Love is that too,” Trestman said. “And love is respecting the dignity of others.”

Watching the players, coaches and execs of the team, it was clear that the buy-in on Popp and Trestman’s culture reached across the organization. For years, everyone and anyone in and around the league has had an opinion on how to fix the Argos, what they would do if they were in charge. A harmonized, championship-winning organization did what it could to reach out to the public to clear what might be the only hurdle that remains in front of it now.

Mayor (and former CFL commissioner) John Tory said twice in his brief address to the crowd that hey need to buy tickets. Popp said there’s always room on the love boat. There were 24,929 fans at the East Final at BMO Field on Nov. 19. There’s momentum and a feeling around the Argos right now that hasn’t been there for a long time. It’s a good thing.

You wonder if it maybe nudges Ricky Ray at all, who faces the offseason decision of riding off into the sunset as a four-time champion at 38, or coming back for more of what’s been so quickly built in Toronto.

While he spoke at the rally, fans chanted at Ray, “One more year! One more year!”

“Only one?” he said, playfully. “Why not two?”

A year ago, many free agents wouldn’t consider Toronto. Some of its own free-agents fled the second the door opened. This year, things could be different. There’s a proven GM-coach tandem. There’s winning. There’s love and a love boat.

“I’m thankful for my struggle,” Grey Cup MVP DeVier Posey said on Tuesday, quoting the poet Alexandra Elle. “Without it I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.”

Posey looked out to the crowd to conclude.

“I believe we did it together.”
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  #1403  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 2:50 AM
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Manziel’s assault charge dismissed, could be one step closer to CFL
3Down Staff November 29, 2017

Johnny Manziel may have overcome a barrier towards signing a CFL contract.

His two-year-old case for assault has been dismissed.

Manziel was charged with assault of former girlfriend Colleen Crowley. He reached a dismissal agreement that required him to complete an anger management class, attend a domestic violence impact panel and participate in a substance-abuse program.

From the Dallas News:

Manziel was accused of kidnapping, beating and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend in January 2016. The ex said the alleged abuse, during a fight over another woman, left her deaf in one ear.

The maximum punishment for a conviction on the misdemeanor charge would have been a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

But Manziel reached an agreement last year with the Dallas County district attorney’s office to get his misdemeanor assault charge dismissed if he agreed to a set of conditions that included rehab and anger management help.

It appears he’s completed those requirements. The charge was dismissed this month, records show.


In late September, after meeting commissioner Randy Ambrosie it was stipulated that Manziel would need to meet certain conditions in order to have his contract registered.

After an extensive process of due diligence and an in-person meeting with Mr. Manziel, the Commissioner has decided that he will not register any contract for Mr. Manziel for this season. However, Mr. Manziel will be eligible to sign a contract for the 2018 season and, if Mr. Manziel meets certain conditions that have been spelled out by the Commissioner, the CFL will register that contract. The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed.

Manziel will remain on Hamilton’s neg list until a final decision is made.

The league required Manziel be assessed by an expert in domestic violence prevention before signing a contract with any club after Manziel activated the 10-day window that required Hamilton offer him a contract earlier this year. The league subsequently extended the timeline so it could complete its review.

Under CFL rules, any player on a team’s exclusive 45-man negotiation list can demand to be offered a contract within 10 days. If a contract offer is not received within that period, the player is removed from the neg list. If a contract offer is received but rejected, the player is removed from the list one year from the offer date.

The 24-year-old has been on the Ticats neg list since his days at Texas A&M, where he became the first freshman to capture the Heisman Trophy. The Cleveland Browns selected him in the first round, No. 22 overall, in the 2014 NFL draft and he spent two seasons with the club, posting a 2-6 record as a starter before being released March 11, 2016.

That assault charge being dismissed could make it one step closer to Manziel being given the go-ahead by CFL to sign in the three-down league.
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  #1404  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 4:42 AM
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2018 Lions

So I got a surprise today when my ticket rep emailed me to say there was a kids 12 and under rate for seasons tickets; I had said I was going to reduce to 2 seats because I couldn't justify or afford to pay full price for kids that are 5 and 7. Well because they came through. (kids rate is only 25% of what and adult ticket is) I am renewing for 4 (2 adult, 2 kids)

Great move, hope it is a public offer not just to those who complain. I want my kids to be fans and be exposed to this great game!
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  #1405  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 6:02 AM
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Three days after GC and I'm still feeling gut-punched.
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  #1406  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjones2451 View Post
So I got a surprise today when my ticket rep emailed me to say there was a kids 12 and under rate for seasons tickets; I had said I was going to reduce to 2 seats because I couldn't justify or afford to pay full price for kids that are 5 and 7. Well because they came through. (kids rate is only 25% of what and adult ticket is) I am renewing for 4 (2 adult, 2 kids)

Great move, hope it is a public offer not just to those who complain. I want my kids to be fans and be exposed to this great game!
That is great to hear!
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  #1407  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 3:59 PM
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Tweet from the Lions today.....hmmmm

Media Advisory: #BCLions to make major football operations announcement in the club's locker room at 11AM PT today. Camera operators asked to be set up at 10:45. #CFL
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  #1408  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 4:27 PM
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CFL has just released each teams pending free agent list. (scratch Sinopoli from the list as Ottawa re-signed him within 5 minutes of the list being released).

As always there are a Ton of players on each list, the real interesting part is looking at the quality of free agent QB's on the list:

- James Franklin (EDM)
- Trevor Harris (OTT)
- Ricky Ray (TOR) May retire
- Jeremiah Masoli (HAM)
- Brandon Bridge (SAS)
- Travis Lulay (BC) May retire due to injury

Franklin is definitely on the move, my guess would be Toronto or Montreal.
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  #1409  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:04 PM
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CFL has just released each teams pending free agent list. (scratch Sinopoli from the list as Ottawa re-signed him within 5 minutes of the list being released).

As always there are a Ton of players on each list, the real interesting part is looking at the quality of free agent QB's on the list:

- James Franklin (EDM)
- Trevor Harris (OTT)
- Ricky Ray (TOR) May retire
- Jeremiah Masoli (HAM)
- Brandon Bridge (SAS)
- Travis Lulay (BC) May retire due to injury

Franklin is definitely on the move, my guess would be Toronto or Montreal.
But Franklin has said he wants to test the NFL and only wants a 1 year deal.....
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  #1410  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:06 PM
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^ 1 year deals are crap... the commissioner needs to do something about that.
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  #1411  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:33 PM
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I agree in they are not desireable but I don't think he would get rid of one-year deals as the league assumes it drives interest from US players in giving the CFL a shot. Don't worry, if he goes to the NFL after next year there will be a new list of 6 free agent QB's for 2019.
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  #1412  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:34 PM
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^ How big of a deal is that really? If some hotshot from the MAC doesn't want to sign with the Ticats because he's convinced he has a chance at a NFL free agent camp, then there are ten more where he came from.

For the guys who are already in the CFL, a take it or leave it proposition is not unreasonable. How many players from the CFL stick on NFL rosters? Not many, a few a year. If you want to reject a 2 year contract to take a shot, be our guest... losing a few guys like that is a price worth paying to slow down massive roster turnover every year.
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  #1413  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:47 PM
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Completely agree with you. I wouldn't have an issue with 2 year minimum contract for players under 30.
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  #1414  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:54 PM
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After saying that, if we are wanting to give the team some protection I wouldn't mind balancing the equation by giving the players protection either by introducing some sort of guaranteed contracts or 1/2 guaranteed. Allowing a team to cut ties with a 30 year old veteran who's provided years of service to the league seems prehistoric to me.
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  #1415  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 6:20 PM
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Tweet from the Lions today.....hmmmm

Media Advisory: #BCLions to make major football operations announcement in the club's locker room at 11AM PT today. Camera operators asked to be set up at 10:45. #CFL
Sounds like Ed Hervey may be in the mix......hmmmm
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  #1416  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 6:37 PM
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Reports are that GM Jim Barker has been fired by the Argos. No word on a replacement yet. Hopefully not Jim Popp
I suppose I should do the honourable thing and humbly retract my comment from much earlier this year. Turns out Argo Management might be smarter than me.
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  #1417  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 7:07 PM
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It's incredible how night and day the Argos are with the current management/ coaching staff of Popp and Testman compared to the previous Barker and Milanovich. And I would have said that prior to the playoffs.
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  #1418  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 7:10 PM
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The article below was from a few days ago. Something I notice about Ambrosie is that he announces something and a short while later it seems to happen. So, it looks like he already knows what's going to happen before he says "Wouldn't it be nice if...?" Like Maritime expansion, the events look to be happening long before there is an introductory statement.

Grey Cup in October? NFL Network TV deal could follow for CFL
Tim Baines, Postmedia Ottawa Sun November 24, 2017

How about a mid-October Grey Cup? It could happen, at least it’s something Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie wants to take a very close look at.

With a soon-to-expire television deal with ESPN, the CFL is also looking at increased synergy with NFL and its NFL Network. The NFL, with its schedule going from September into the Super Bowl early in February, is starved for content from May-August so CFL games could be of big interest to the league. A CFL source suggested it was an “elaborate scenario” that “had come and gone, but is active again.”

It seems as if a potential TV deal with NFL Network would be tied to the CFL moving its season up to provide content while the NFL is out of season.

“I’d like to see the Grey Cup earlier, it won’t happen for 2018, but for 2019 it’s possible,” Ambrosie told Postmedia. “I’d like to see it maybe the third week of October. That week, almost everywhere in Canada is a fantastic weekend. I’ve traveled – we’ve lived in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Oakville, Montreal – the third week in October is amazing. The leaves are changing colours. It’s autumn, it’s not cold.

“I’m wondering whether we can’t take our Grey Cup from the most important sporting day in Canada to increase it two or three times that size if we got the date right.”

If the CFL wants to move its schedule up with a start date in May, there could be pushback from its Canadian broadcast partner, TSN. The CFL’s deal with TSN and RDS runs through 2021. Going head-to-head with broadcasts of Stanley Cup playoff games may not be a path the TV network wants to navigate. But the commissioner says it’s an idea worth having discussions about.

“If I’ve learned anything, it’s don’t presume.” said Ambrosie. “Your presumptions prevent you from thinking things through in an open-minded way. Rather than presume I know what TSN thinks, I’d rather take some information to the table and have them take some information to the table.”

But what about hockey? What if the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers or Vancouver Canucks are in the chase for the Stanley Cup in May, then June?

“I’m a hockey guy, too,” said Ambrosie. “You can’t grow up in Winnipeg and not be a hockey fan. Under the right conditions, we could compete with the hockey season for a short period of time when getting outdoors in a perfect time of year for people to enjoy Canada in its fullest – a night at a stadium with a beer, a hotdog, your family and great football. Can’t we just have a conversation about that being important to Canadians as well?”

Talks with the NFL about providing content have been going on for a long time. There was a strong push a couple of years ago.

“I’ve had several great conversations with them,” said Ambrosie. “What Canadian fans should know is we already have things we’re partnering with the NFL on. Flag football, we had the nine winners of our regional tournaments here and had an amazing event. The NFL has been a great partner with us on that.

“We’re doing some health and safety things. Those conversations are ongoing. We’ve talked about the idea of what are they doing for programming on the NFL Network, could we be a positive source of amazing content? I’m entirely on board with sharing our game with more people around the world … and I’m not just talking about the U.S. market. We should stop being so Canadian and shy about this. With three downs and a big field and it’s wide open and these are world-class athletes – we’ve got the greatest game in the world.”

If the NFL Network was to add CFL programming, it makes sense that more emphasis would be put on the background of the Canadian league’s players – many of them come from major U.S. college football programs. Again, that would help secure an audience largely unfamiliar with the CFL.

The CFL already has a relationship with Draft Kings, a wildly popular fantasy football provider. Fantasy footballers tend to watch games. That would sit well with the NFL, which recognizes the value of that relationship and a built-in audience. Also a plus, the NFL doesn’t view the CFL as a competitor, it’s more of an ally.

The commissioner is open to exploring any ideas that can give increased exposure to the CFL product. The NFL Network would open up doors worldwide.

Said Ambrosie: “We should be saying, ‘What’s possible for us?’ Our content is world-class and we’re talking to the NFL about bringing our world-class content to the NFL and using some of the things they’re doing internationally to broadcast their games. There are some limitations, but could we take our game to other parts of the world with a partner? I’d like to see Canadian Football League fans around the world, I think our game is worth it.”
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  #1419  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 7:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 25grapes View Post
It's incredible how night and day the Argos are with the current management/ coaching staff of Popp and Testman compared to the previous Barker and Milanovich. And I would have said that prior to the playoffs.
I don't think that's fair and I don't think B and M had anywhere near the support and resources of management that P and T have. And I saw some criticism of Popp and surprise about what he had accomplished. He did great things in Montreal but after so many years you get burned out or not as focused. See what change used to do for Wally and now he's had enough and hopefully will ride into the sunset to a well earned retirement. Edit: I guess not, must be sticking around to keep an eye on Hervey.

Now Hervey is a total POS. Going rogue in Edmonton re TSN and his own bosses, hate on for Canadian players while earning money in a Canadian league, unless that time out has taught him a lesson, it won't be good for the Lions. Maybe it's good that Big Dave still owns the club if that's who their GM is going to be. If he goes rogue on Braley he'll be on the next bus back to Compton.
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  #1420  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 7:28 PM
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^ Barker and Milanovich deserve at least some credit for building a championship team in 2012. They can't be blamed for all the uncertainty that dragged down the Argos in the years after that.
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