We are roughly half-way through the painful and agonizing waiting period, also known as the offseason for the Canadian Football League, but have not been left without a share of major headlines.
I hope everyone is missing the CFL as much as I am. These past few months have been rough, although we go through this every year, it never gets any easier.
Looking over those headlines, the ones that certainly make their mark are the player announcements that saw teams either swapping quarterbacks with one another or the release of others.
When you look towards certain players, especially those who have had a long tenure with their respected teams, you begin to build a sense of loyalty and that the player in question will ultimately retire as a player with that franchise.
This offseason has shown that is simply not the case anymore and general managers are looking at the present and what can you do for me now philosophy.
That certainly reigned true with the Calgary Stampeders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on January 3 of the new year.
On that day, the Calgary Stampeders announced that they aligned a trade with Hamilton which saw long-time pivot Henry Burris swap places with Kevin Glenn out of Hamilton, as well as offensive lineman Mark Dewit and a conditional draft pick.
With the late-season struggles of Burris and the emergence of Drew Tate last season, it became clearer that Burris’ time with Calgary was winding down and although retirement wasn’t in question, his time with Calgary was.
As for Kevin Glenn, you could say the writing was on the wall after head coach Marcel Bellefeuille introduced a two-quarterback system between Glenn and back-up pivot Quinton Porter.
It was almost a test to see if Glenn would be able to stay on top of Quinton but in the end both quarterbacks failed to put their team ahead into the Grey Cup and Glenn was traded.
Then you look at Ricky Ray, who came into camp for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2002 and has spent nine years of his life as an Eskimo. If you asked me a year ago, I would certainly say that Ray retiring as an Eskimo is a lock.
Twelve months later, Ray will most likely be the starting pivot for the Toronto Argonauts, who initiated a trade with the Eskimos that saw fellow pivot Steven Jyles return to the team where his career started.
You take a look at several of the team’s rosters and you feel as though you’re dreaming that these moves did not happen simply because of the names involved.
It falls back on the philosophy that you need to produce now, not down the road, not a few years from now. It’s about now and that has certainly been proven more than once.
Just a few weeks ago, the Calgary Stampeders released veteran running back Joffrey Reynolds as the team failed to acquire any trade interest. Reynolds is still one of the best backs amongst the league but his job was on the line after former teammate Jon Cornish made himself into a star last season.
What’s going to happen this upcoming season is left to everyone’s imagination. Who will be determined the starting pivot won’t be known for months, but the fun in speculating will certainly be at an all-time rise.
Fans will be looking at players with utmost scrutiny this training camp and you can certainly sign me up as one of them!
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