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Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Bagg on Wednesday
A big cheer erupted in the Saskatchewan Roughriders locker room Wednesday morning when Rob Bagg walked through the door.

The Riders announced the signing of the veteran receiver on Wednesday, nine weeks after cutting him coming out of training camp. The 33-year old from Kingston, ON appreciated the warm welcome.

"It's been good. I feel like, for the most part, they were pretty happy to see me and I was certainly happy to see a lot of them," Bagg said. "Just kinda grinded through a practice today and I'm definitely more tired than normal. I was happy and just thrilled to be out there, and I look forward to building throughout the rest of the week."

The Riders had an opening for a wide receiver after this week's release of Duron Carter, but Bagg doesn't expect to be the saviour for a team which is currently riding a 2-game losing streak.

"Not really. I'm just another piece of the puzzle," Bagg shrugged. "If I can go out there and encourage the other guys, work as hard as I possibly can, hopefully that encourages them to do the same. We'd all be a little bit better off and closer to our goal which is being a quality football team."

Bagg said it wasn't hard to swallow his pride and return to the club who released him in June.

"At the end of the day it's a privilege to play pro football," Bagg explained. "You can feel pride and sit in your living room and watch the other guys enjoy what you love to do, or you can look at as a business, and another opportunity to continue to play the game you love."

Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones says the addition of Bagg brings a lot to their locker room.

"It's been a couple of weeks in the works," Jones revealed. "We spoke a couple weeks ago and Rob said his ankle is back well and he's completely healthy. He said he'd welcome an opportunity to come back. It's not just about one person. He brings some leadership qualities and some depth at the Canadian receiver position."

The Roughriders host the Calgary Stampeders in the annual Plaza of Honour Game on Sunday at 5:00 pm (TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Network).


The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the following roster moves:

  • National wide receiver Rob Bagg

  • International defensive back Will Blackmon

  • International quarterback Devin Gardner
  • International defensive back Shawun Lurry
  • National defensive lineman Tresor Mafuta
  • International running back Trent Richardson 

(Roughriders PR)


If Duron Carter resurfaces in the CFL, it won't be with the Montreal Alouettes.

TSN 690 Radio's Rick Moffat - the Voice of the Alouettes - Tweeted on Wednesday morning that the Alouettes are out of the running to sign the free agent receiver. Carter was released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday night.

"But for DC, 1 door opens and another slams shut," Moffat Tweeted from his account @RickMoffat. "Alouettes talked but won't have any further discussions with him about a return to Montreal."

In Wednesday's Leader Post, Carter said he's had interest from the Montreal Alouettes, BC Lions, Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The 27-year old from Fort Lauderdale, FL is a 2-time CFL All-Star and spent three seasons with the Alouettes but his pro resume also includes stints with the Indianapolis Colts and the Roughriders.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Kyle Wilson Photo: Wanda Harron Photography
Home cooking agreed with the Regina Red Sox as they cruised to a 12-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Mavericks on Tuesday.

1,075 fans left Currie Field happy as the Red Sox also out hit the Mavericks 16-7. Medicine Hat now leads the championship series 2-1.

Kyle Wilson started for the Red Sox and was exceptional. The Arkansas Tech product earned his second playoff win with a complete game seven hitter. Wilson allowed one and one walk while striking out four Medicine Hat batters.

Jumpei Akanuma went to the hill for the Mavericks and lasted just four innings. The senior from Kyoto Japan was tagged for five earned runs on seven hits in his first playoff loss.

Wesley Moss and Erick Crossman each had three RBI in the Red Sox win. Crossman also led Regina with four hits.

David Salgueiro provided the offensive highlights for the Mavericks with two hits and a stolen base.

Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Currie Field. First pitch will be thrown at 7:05 pm. The game will be broadcast live on Access.

(Outlaw Communications/Tony Playter)


MONTREAL - Johnny Manziel wasn't at the Montreal Alouettes' first practice of the week, but coach Mike Sherman expects him to be in the lineup on Saturday in Edmonton.

Sherman said Manziel attended a quarterbacks meeting Tuesday but missed practice because of "a previously diagnosed medical condition that required blood work.''

There were fears that Manziel suffered a concussion when he took a crushing hit while trying to run the ball over the goalline for a touchdown during a 24-17 defeat in Ottawa on the weekend. He did not appear to be as sharp afterward. He fumbled on the play, but Montreal recovered for the major.

But Sherman sees no reason why Manziel would not be fit to play in Edmonton.

"Nothing that I've been told or indicated,'' he said. "He and I spent a lot of time after the game sitting on the bench talking at the stadium before we headed home, talking about how he did, talking about everything.

"There was nothing he indicated to me or anybody else that it would be a problem.''

He expects Manziel to be back on the field on Wednesday. That would give the former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns pivot only two full practices before starting his third CFL game. He looked much improved in Ottawa from his CFL debut the week before, when he was picked off four times in the first half against Hamilton.

In his first game, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner completed only 11 passes for 104 yards. In his second outing, he found his receivers 16 times for 168 yards, with no interceptions. But he has yet to throw a touchdown pass.

Now he'll face one of the league's best teams without full preparation.

"That's the Canadian Football League, you've got to be able to go on a short week,'' said Sherman. "We've already had a couple of them.

"It's not optimum, but what do you want me to do? We'll make it work.''

With the Alouettes' depth chart at quarterback already stretched to the limit, Sherman's 1-7 club needs its top starter in the lineup.

Drew Willy, Jeff Mathews and Vernon Adams are all injured, with Matt Shiltz has just returned to practising. Sixth-stringer Antonio Pipkin took the first-team snaps. The former Tiffin University star returned to the Alouettes practice roster last week after being cut on June 19.

Pipkin was with the team last season, but got into only the final game of the regular season when he completed two of nine passes for 14 yards. He spent the past two months ``staying ready, continuing to work out, staying mentally prepared for the next opportunity.''

He vowed to be ready if needed.

"We're professional athletes here,'' he said. "If that's the call, I'll do my part.''

The Alouettes have the as-yet untested Austin Apodaca in reserve.

(Canadian Press)


By his own admission, Chris Jones released a “very good player'' when the Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach/GM gave Duron Carter his walking papers Sunday.

But it's unclear if Jones tried dealing Carter before cutting Saskatchewan's top receiver last season prior to the Riders (3-4) home game Sunday night versus the Calgary Stampeders (7-0), especially with four other teams - Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal and B.C. - now interested in Carter following his release.

That's not to suggest Jones could've commanded a first-round pick for the six-foot-five, 205-pound Carter. After all, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got a conditional '19 eighth-round selection last month from Montreal for Adarius Bowman, a four-time 1,000-yard receiver.

However, Carter is six years Bowman's junior and can play on both sides of the ball as well as return kicks.

Jones wouldn't offer specific reasons for Carter's departure. Jones said he and Carter met daily during the '17 season, and although that practice ended this year the two still huddled periodically.

Carter accumulated a team-leading 1,043 yards on 73 catches in 2017, his first with the Riders, and was tied with Naaman Roosevelt with eight receiving TDs. Carter also started at cornerback Oct. 20, recording a 43-yard interception return TD in a 30-7 win over Calgary.

Carter started five games on defence this season after cornerback Nick Marshall (wrist) was injured. 

He had five catches for 59 yards and a TD in Saskatchewan's last game, a 26-19 loss to Edmonton on Aug. 2, and finished with eight receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown overall.

Carter is certainly no saint. There were reports an altercation with a teammate led to his release, something Jones wouldn't address directly.

In 2016, Carter was suspended for one game after bumping Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell during a game. He and fellow receiver Kenny Stafford were released later that season following an incident during practice with quarterback Rakeem Cato.

Still, the outspoken and gregarious Carter is popular with fans, having over 22,000 Twitter followers. 

Last November before the East Division final in Toronto, Carter paid $351 to take 26 Riders supporters to a screening of the superhero film “Justice League.''


LULAY RETURNS: It's been a solid return for Travis Lulay.

The veteran quarterback is 2-2 since replacing Jonathon Jennings as B.C.'s starting quarterback. The Lions (3-4) are tied with Saskatchewan for last in the West Division, four points behind second-place Edmonton and Winnipeg (both 5-3).

Lulay leads B.C. into BMO Field on Saturday afternoon versus the Toronto Argonauts (2-5). The Lions are 1-1 versus East Division rivals but 0-4 on the road.

Toronto is 2-2 at home but 1-5 against West clubs.

Lulay, who turns 35 next month, has completed 88-of-141 passes (62.4 per cent) for 1,171 yards with five TDs and three interceptions in his four starts. That's impressive considering Lulay suffered a season-ending knee injury last year that had some wondering if his CFL career was over.

Lulay needed time at the start of the season to fully recover from the injury. But with B.C. last in the West at 1-2 and Jennings passing for just 487 yards with two TDs and three interceptions, the Lions turned to their 10-year veteran.

Lulay was the CFL's outstanding player in 2011 and capped that campaign off by being named the MVP of B.C.'s 34-23 Grey Cup win over Winnipeg. But he's been plagued by injuries since 2013, twice missing time with a shoulder issue and a torn MCL in 2016 before last year's season-ending knee ailment.


MANZIEL WATCH: “Johnny Football'' was better in his second CFL start.

Johnny Manziel was 16-of-26 passing for 168 yards in Montreal's 24-17 loss to Ottawa on Saturday night. The Redblacks clinched the win on William Powell's 10-yard TD run with 36 seconds to play.

Manziel's performance paled in comparison to Ottawa's Trevor Harris (44-of-54 passing for 487 yards, TD). However, the Montreal quarterback had no interceptions after throwing four in his CFL debut, a 50-11 loss to Hamilton on Aug. 3.

The former Heisman Trophy winner again showed his mobility, rushing for 36 yards on three carries.

But Montreal's offence managed 271 total yards while holding the ball for under 24 minutes. Harris and Co. rolled up a whopping 601 offensive yards despite committing six turnovers (four fumbles, an interception and on downs).

The Alouettes also allowed three sacks, boosting their league-high total to 27. Montreal remains last overall in offensive points (13.8 per game), net offence (251.4 yards), fewest interceptions thrown (nine), rushing yards (86.5) and quarterback rating (37.4) and second-last in passing (201.8 per game).

Montreal visits Edmonton (5-3) on Saturday.


BREAKOUT GAME: The Ottawa Redblacks got significant contributions from running back William Powell and receiver Greg Ellingson in their 24-17 win over Montreal.

Powell ran for 104 yards, his 10-yard TD romp with 36 seconds remaining snapping a 17-17 tie. It was Powell's third 100-yard game this season but first since a 138-yard performance in a 28-18 victory over the Als on July 6.

Powell ran for 149 yards on 51 carries in Ottawa's previous four games, an average of 37.25 yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry. He rushed for 355 yards on 55 carries in the Redblacks first three contests, averaging 118 yards per game and 6.5 yards per attempt.

Ellingson was Ottawa's leading receiver with 11 catches for 110 yards. It was his first 100-yard game since the Redblacks' season-opening 40-17 win over Saskatchewan on June 21 when he had eight catches for 104 yards.

Ellingson, a 1,000-yard receiver the past three seasons with Ottawa, cracked the 50-yard mark for the first time in six games.


THIS 'N THAT: Linebacker Adam Bighill had seven tackles, a sack and forced fumble in Winnipeg's 29-23 win over Edmonton. Bighill, in his first season with the Bombers, has a CFL-best 49 defensive tackles and anchors a defence that has 21 sacks and 11 interceptions, both league highs. But receiver Weston Dressler's streak of 120 straight games with at least one catch could be on hold after suffering a lower-body injury versus the Eskimos ... Hamilton's Courtney Stephen has lost his starting safety position to fellow Canadian Mike Daly but leads the CFL in special-teams tackles with 13 ... Saskatchewan's Charleston Hughes has a league-best nine sacks, four more than his nearest rivals.

(Canadian Press)


1-DURON COPIES UNCLE RANDY: The woes of Duron Carter are being compared all over North America to the early struggles of his legendary father Cris Carter, and the elder Carter's Pro Football Hall of Fame career. Except daddy Carter seemed to sort things out before he turned 25. Baby Carter is already 27, so I have a different take.

Duron reminds me much more of his “Uncle Randy” Moss. It was Moss who wore out his welcome with his first 2 NFL teams - the Vikings and Raiders - despite his undeniable talent. Now Randy did just fine in his 3rd stop with the New England Patriots, breaking Jerry Rice’s single season record for touchdown catches when he hauled in 23 from Tom Brady in New England’s 16-0 season of 2007. Duron is in a tough spot but if Uncle Randy taught him anything, being a diva receiver is anything but a death sentence even for a player in his late 20’s.

2-WHY DURON KEEPS GETTING PUNTED: Pro sports is the ultimate meritocracy and talent will still overshadow just about anything else. Duron has enjoyed the spoils of his natural abilities inherited from his dad and the teachings gained from being raised by an NFL superstar. But at some point along the way, to be a pro, you have to learn to enjoy the grind. The grind of lifting weights in the offseason and running hills in working non-stop to perfect your craft.

As Rod and I discussed on the Sportscage Monday, I’m not so sure Duron has ever enjoyed the grind.

Most high draft picks who fail in the CFL, NFL, NHL, MLB or NBA do so because they never learn that habit of working round the clock to get to that mountain top. Duron’s natural abilities got him pretty far with this football thing. It’s possible his failure to “love the grind” has taken him as far as he’s going to go.

3-MANZIEL TO DURON HISTORY IN THE MAKING: If Carter does in fact join the Alouettes, it would surely be the first CFL broadcast in history to ever get better TV ratings in the United States than in Canada.

4-REGINA RED SOX READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP: Currie Field will be bumping for Game 3 of the Western Major Baseball League Finals Tuesday night. The Sox are facing elimination after dropping Games 1 and 2 in Medicine Hat. Regina’s pitching staff is running on fumes at this point and a 7 or 8 inning gem from their projected starter Kyle Wilson will be essential. I just hope to see 2,000 people in the park. 1,834 is the biggest crowd they’ve ever had.

5-HOW THE SOX GOT HERE: This rag-tag bunch lost 2 of its greatest hitters in Riley Hickerson and Colton Onstott along with 2 of their best relief pitchers in Ondrej Sebek and closer Sam Cottingham-Beard for one reason or another late in the season. They could have folded their tents and a late July 4-12 stretch gave every indication they would do just that. But by hook or by crook, the Sox are getting it done in the playoffs with contributions from unlikely sources. Centrefielder Brooks Stotler homered just twice all summer until the playoffs. He has 5 in the postseason! First baseman Erik Crossman didn’t homer once all season but has gone yard twice in this playoff run. Catcher Matt Deneau had 4 bombs in the regular season but 5 more in the playoffs.

You get the picture. No superstars. Just a crew of blue collar ballplayers playing for each other and coming up big in the clutch when they need it the most.

The most polarizing story of them all is 2nd baseman Adam De La Cruz who has not only cashed in 12 RBI’s in just 11 games during this Cinderella Run, but he’s also come onto the mound for a save or win in 4 of the Sox 6 playoff victories so far. An athlete that versatile is so rare nowadays and truly exemplifies what the team’s run has been all about. Doing whatever it takes whenever it takes.

6-WEYBURN ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID: Couldn’t help but bleed a little inside for Weyburn Beavers manager Phil Curtis and his brother/first base coach Cory Curtis after their devastating Game 5 East division loss to the Red Sox. Losing to a 10.5-game underdog stings and it especially hurts for a franchise trying to establish Beaver Fever in a small market where baseball has always been a distant 3rd behind the Riders and Weyburn Red Wings. I’ve always respected that organization and hope they get their kodak moment real soon.

7-NOT SURE WHO THE MORONS WERE….: ….who decided to have the Medicine Hat Mavericks wear red at home to the start the finals against the Regina Red Sox whose road uniforms happen to be….red(gulp). Didn’t make for the greatest viewing experience on YouTube.

8-CFL READY FOR FEMALE COMMENTATORS: Congratulations to the Ottawa Redblacks for honouring Jo-Anne Polak over the weekend who became pro football’s first ever female General Manager 30 years ago. It got me thinking of roles women could be playing in today’s CFL. TSN uses the same commentators over and over for its CFL broadcasts despite having a heavy stable of women in front of the camera for SportsCentre. Why not use some of them to do a CFL broadcast from the booth? Doris Burke is one of the best in the NBA. Why can’t it be done here?

9-BEST ARTIST FROM THE REGINA FOLK FESTIVAL OVER THE WEEKEND: Since I missed WALK OFF THE EARTH, I’m going to say Michael Franti. Always liked him. Bruce Cockburn reminds me too much of my parents generation for me to get too excited about.

10-BOOK/DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: Just watch game 3 of the WMBL finals on the Regina Red Sox Facebook page and if it gets to game 4 Wednesday, we’ll have it for you on Access Communications channel and their Facebook page.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

Monday, August 13, 2018



Duron Carter.

There hasn’t been a more polarizing player on and off the field for the Saskatchewan Roughrides in recent memory. His short time in Riderville ended on Saturday night with a tweet, and then an official release from the Roughriders.

The official reasoning from Roughrider head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations, Chris Jones was, in summary, “We wanted to go in a different direction with our football club.”

On Now At All Sask Famoso Locations!
It’s incredibly easy to try to read between the lines (scroll down on and read the full transcript) but it comes down to any one of - or combination - of four things: salary cap room, team chemistry, something irreconcilable happened within the doors of the Rider facility, or another off-field incident.

As a cool Monday dawns on Rider Nation the question now is, "What happens next?”

For Duron Carter, he will more than likely sign with another CFL team. (Much like Loucheiz Purifoy's release from the Ottawa Redblacks last week was immediately welcomed with a contract from the Riders).

Just how many chances will Carter get, who knows? The combination of rare football ability with the constant on and off-field distractions is what the next CFL front office will have to deal with. Carter will probably receive a contract for the rest of the 2018 season and from there, who knows.

But let’s leave this with the words of B.C. Lions defensive end, Odell Willis. He summed it up nicely with a tweet Saturday night, “Man if Jones can’t handle u who can? {shoulder shrug emoji}.”

Now to the Saskatchewan Roughriders:

They lose their top offensive weapon. Time after time in 2017 and in spots in 2018 (like in Edmonton on his great touchdown catch-and-run on a Zach Collaros underthrown ball) Carter bailed out Rider quarterbacks with incredible play, after incredible play.

What we saw from the Saskatchewan offence during Carter’s time at defensive back is what we will see the rest of the season. One can only hope offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo can move around his top weapons (Naaman Roosevelt, Marcus Thigpen, and Tre Mason) to find some matchup opportunities. Also, try to find a way to use the middle of the field which has been missing since day one of the regular season.

Who will be the player to step up and lead this Rider offence for the final 11-game stretch of 2018?

And now to Chris Jones:

There is no question he is one of the top head coaches and defensive minds in the CFL. But there will come a time when Chris Jones the head coach will no longer be able to make up for Chris Jones the general manager and vice president of football operations.

When the dust settles on the 2018 season, because of all the titles before his name, Jones will ultimately be judged on just 18 days (games). The VP can’t fire the general manager without firing the head coach and defensive coordinator.

Here’s the pressure he is currently under: To make a run for the much-cherished home playoff berth the Riders will need to go undefeated or win four of their last five home games. They also have to play over .500 football against a gruelling West Division that now includes a suddenly above-average B.C. Lions club.

It all begins late-Sunday afternoon at Mosaic with another date against the undefeated Calgary Stampeders.

The Stampeders sure feel ripe for the picking after a few grind it out wins over the Riders and Lions.

It will be up to the Rider offence to crack a Calgary defence that gives up just a hair over ten-points per game. The defence and special teams can’t bear the brunt of filling the scoreboard, but they will need to force the Stampeders into enough mistakes to make it easier for a much-maligned offence.

It will be interesting to see how the players rally around each other Sunday and into the rest of the season. One has this real weird feeling that the players will use this week to step up and hand the Stampeders their first loss of the 2018 season.


- Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel looked better in a 24-17 loss on the road in Ottawa Saturday night. His defence however, not so much. The Alouette defence gave up over 600-yards of offence and if it wasn’t for a myriad of fumbles on the part of the Redblacks offence, it would have been incredibly ugly.

As for Manziel, he was more patient and eliminated many of the mistakes that plagued him a week ago. Next up will be to start making those game-changing plays.

There are those cheering so hard for his demise. It doesn’t matter if you like him, hate him or hate the constant deluge of TSN narrative, if Johnny Football has success in this league it can only mean good things for the CFL.

- How much fun is the Winnipeg Blue Bomber offence to watch? Paul LaPolice has such a deep and varied playbook that it’s become must-see football.

Various motion plays, using Nic Demski and Andrew Harris in multiple areas of the offence, deep attempts in the middle of the field and even a play or two with Matt Nicholls under centre. No, not on short yardage, or having a short yardage package right after picking up a first down, but an old-school under centre drop and give to Andrew Harris for a huge gain.

Their dynamic play on both sides of the ball makes the top-three in the west of Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg difficult to crack.


The Canada West football season is set to begin in three weeks. Camps across the prairies and B.C. are getting ready for their first pre-season action.

The Regina Rams will host the Manitoba Bisons on August 22nd at Leibel Field in Regina. The Calgary Dinos will take on the Alberta Golden Bears on the 22nd at Great Chief Park in Red Deer. The Saskatchewan Huskies will play their green and white game on August 23rd at Griffiths Stadium.


The Prairie Football Conference is set to kick off their regular season next weekend. The Saskatoon Hilltops drive for five begins against their provincial rival Regina Thunder at Mosaic Stadium Saturday night at 7:00pm while the Edmonton Wildcats head on the road to face the Winnipeg Rifles at 7:00pm on Saturday night.

Canadian to watch in the NCAA

Mike Beaudry
QB – University of West Florida (Rs. Soph.)
6’5”, 245lbs.
Oviedo, Fla.
High School – Hagerty H.S.

The Saskatchewan born Beaudry has dual citizenship. His family moved to Florida when he was 11-years-old.

He helped lead the West Florida Argos to the NCAA Division II championships in just their second year of play in 2017 but lost in the final to Texas A&M Commerce 37-27.

Beaudry will lead a dynamic offence and is a pre-season candidate for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the top college football player in Division II.

He was also one of 40 of the top college quarterbacks in the U.S. invited to the prestigious Manning Passing Academy this summer.

( Staff)

The Medicine Hat Mavericks drew first blood in the WMBL championship series. The Mavericks outscored the visiting Regina Red Sox 8-5 in front of 1,284 fans at Athletic Park.

Carson Johnson, the shortstop from Springdale Arkansas, drove in three runs to lead the Maverick’s offensive. Medicine Hat outfielder David Salgueriro was also a key player in the victory as he scored three runs on one hit and two walks.

Brooks Stotler had two home runs in a losing cause for the Red Sox. Wesley Moss scored two runs and added two hits including a home run for Regina.

Alex Dafoe, the junior from Friends University, got the start and the win for the Mavericks. Over his 6.1 inning performance, Dafoe was charged with five runs on eight hits. The Mavericks bullpen came on to pick up Dafoe and was spectacular as they did not allow a hit or a run over the final 2.2 innings. Tyler Shumpert picked up the save.

Peyton Burks started for Regina and faced 19 batters over his 3.2 innings of work. Burks allowed three runs on four hits and three walks before handing the game over to reliever

Tyler Bernhardt. The senior from Northwest Oklahoma pitched 2.1 innings and took the loss as he surrendered three runs on four hits.

Medicine Hat will host Game 2 on Monday night. Game time is set for 7:05 pm.

Game Notes:
Brooks Stotler leads all playoff hitters with 5 home runs
Adam De La Cruz is hitting .432 in the post season

Medicine Hat
Carson Johnson leads the WMBL with 14 playoff RBI
The Maverick bullpen only faced 8 batters over 2.2 innings

(Outlaw Communications/Tony Playter)