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Friday, February 12, 2016

MURPHY ON FREE AGENCY, BACK-UP QUARTERBACKS

Saskatchewan Roughriders Assistant V.P. of Football Operations and Player Personnel John Murphy was in studio on 620 CKRM's SportsCage on Thursday to discuss the team's wave of signings and trades during the 2016 free agency season and their plans at back-up quarterback behind Darian Durant.

The club added over a dozen players through the first three days of free agency while releasing a pair.  While the team is far from done retooling its roster before training camp, Murphy's happy with what's transpired.

"We've made a lot of good improvements," Murphy said.  "It's a slow process.  We're still looking ahead including the free agent workouts that we'll continue to do this month and then meet in Toronto for Evaluation Camp.  It'll be our coaching staff's first chance to lay eyes on the prospects and poke and prod those players.  We'll also have the minicamp in Florida in April (Vero Beach April 8-10).

"Those will be a lot of guys that fill up our roster, the guys that are in these camps.  Jeff Knox Jr. was a guy who went to an open tryout a year ago and look at what he produced.  These guys will be on our roster and practice roster, and more importantly when injuries pop up like they do, a lot of these guys that are trying out for us in these camps will be the first call-ups.  It doesn't seem as important as the last three or four days but it's equally important if you want to perform at a winning level all year."

Murphy was asked by co-host Kelly Remple what they're hoping for game-to-game in the 2016 season.

"There's nine teams playing and the expansion team made it as close to winning a Grey Cup as anyone else last year," Murphy reasoned.  "If a team that's only been existence for two years can get to that point, there's no reason to say that we can't.  But I think the work that's gotta be done both on and off the field before then to be competitive is tremendous.  We need to continue to develop the Canadian talent and the quarterbacks for the future.  We'll have an excellent competition in training camp at lot of positions.  We'll evaluate that talent at the end of training camp and then at various points throughout the regular season."

Many in the Rider Nation are wondering what the Riders will do at the back-up quarterback position behind Darian Durant.  Kevin Glenn was shipped off to Montreal at the trade deadline and the club finished the year with rookies Brett Smith and Keith Price.

"I would argue there is a CFL-experienced quarterback right here when you look at the circumstances under which he played," Murphy said.  "Why is it such an anamoly that Brett Smith is not that guy?  15 touchdowns, nine interceptions, second- or third-leading rushing quarterback, and again, taking it into context, if there's so much excitement over Jon Jennings in B.C., why is there so much criticism of Brett Smith?

"Down the stretch, the game in Hamilton, is that a young quarterback forcing the issue because he's being pressured?  Yes.  There was a lack of a running game at that time, guys dropping balls and receivers in and out, that was a guy pushing out there.  Can you judge a guy who was out there trying to make a play?  A guy who was putting it out there on the line every play even though he was getting his butt kicked?  I liked the factor that he showed some oomf.  Maybe not the talking back and the body language, but he didn't want to come out of the games.  He wanted to fight with his teammates.  He earned a lot of respect from people.  Smith's also one of the three or four youngest players on the team.

"B.J. Coleman has done some real nice things for us in the workouts and has a nice pedigree.  He did some things in the NFL.  He had an excellent run in the Arena League and we're still evaluating Keith Price plus we've looked at five or six other quarterbacks.  Until otherwise noticed, I don't think there's anybody else out there who could put us in a better situation to be successful than Brett Smith."

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

It is time for the usual set of weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they are in no particular order

-- The poor CFL just can't win. It is free agent day across the league on Tuesday. A day where CFL fans can see what is happening with their team as far as additions and subtractions go.  A day where they should have centre stage, but just as the window opens on free agency, the door shuts on any momentum or traction the CFL could have gotten.  The Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa to steal the headlines and even the Western Hockey League gets into the act by announcing a five year extension for commissioner Ron Robison.

-- Why wouldn't the official network of the CFL dedicate at least two hours of programming to a property that they hold exclusivity over on the first day of free agency.?  A CFL free agent frenzy would have drawn a lot of viewers. It just seems to me at times TSN is holding the CFL back in so many ways as they could do so much more.

-- While day 1 of free agency may have been somewhat overshadowed by the Phaneuf trade, day 2 wasn't overshadowed by anything in Rider Nation.


It is safe to say that while Chris Jones and his braintrust didn't get every guy they wanted, they have vastly improved the look of what was a putrid looking squad in 2015 in many areas. Justin Capicotti should make up for the loss of John Chick, Greg Jones is going to look great besides Jeff Knox Junior, and Ed Gainey and Otha Foster will make the secondary better although Foster could be that linebacker/defensive back that so many teams employ now. I think when all is said and done, the acquistion of Jones may be the biggest one of the off-season---at least to this date.  Is it June yet?

-- If the Riders won free agency as some are suggesting, is it safe to say the big losers in free agency were the Eskimos?

-- Don't be surprised to see Ray Early get released by the Riders. Chris Jones has shown since taking over that he's pretty good at punting!!

-- Are there are any more Campbells out there that the Riders can trade for? Hugh, Rick, Jamie??

-- Quote of the week from Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Ben Heenan. Speaking at the Kinsmen Dinner in Moose Jaw, Heenan was asked by Sportsnet's Jamie Campbell how he could abandon his home province. Big Ben's answer---"I just didn't want Chris Jones to cut me". LOVE IT!!

-- How about Jeremy Roenick in Moose Jaw last weekend! The former Flyer and Hawk, who now works for NBC, wowed those in attendance at that same Moose Jaw Kinsmen dinner. He just decided at the last minute to offer up something for the live auction. That something being hotel, airfare and two tickets to any Stanley Cup game played this year in the city of the winner's choosing. He even went further than that saying lunch, an autographed jersey and a chance to meet your favourite player will be thrown in there too. The price of this "gift" from Roenick was 11,500.  This was the first time Roenick had been to our little neck of the woods and he said he loved it in Regina and Moose Jaw. Let's get him back here Saskatchewan!! Nice job J-R!!

-- If I had seen this picture before Monday's "Something to Mitch About", I would have put it up then.  Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis broke his arm in the NFC Championship game and wasn't going to let that stand in the way of him playing two weeks later in the Super Bowl. This was his arm after the surgeons were done with him....that is not a football!!!


Nasty doesn't even come close to describing this.  Talk about having a love for the game! Perhaps Davis needs to have a little sit-down with his quarterback.

--Tweet of the week comes from Derek "Duke" Meyers of Global Regina.


-- Anyone who knows anything about professional wrestling and watched RAW this past Monday saw that there is a factor of realism when they saw Daniel Bryan say goodbye to something he spent his life doing. His retirement speech was powerful.

-- As MLB gets ready to start its 2016 season in a couple of months, numbers as to what ballpark is the easiest to hit one out of and what one is the toughest over the last five years have been released. It is no surprise to see Coors Field in Denver is the easiest place to hit a homerun because of the rarified air, but I was surprised to see San Francisco's AT&T Park is the toughest. It makes what Barry Bonds did a few years ago that much more interesting. By the way, Rogers Centre is 4th.

-- Are Regina and Saskatoon too small for Uber? Could it work in the two cities?

-- Yes, it was the Leafs, but damn do Jordan Eberle and Connor McDavid look good together. If those two stay healthy and stay together, could Ebs get 50 next year?

-- How many people at the start of the WHL season would have said in mid-February, the Lethbridge Hurricanes will be the best team in the Eastern Conference and just one point away from having the most points in the league? I'm guessing not many!

-- I would think the Regina Pats have sewed up a playoff spot, but can they catch Moose Jaw for 3rd place in the Eastern Division? They are only five back going into a big weekend against Prince Albert and Brandon.

-- That's all I got. Have a great long weekend!

MAMMOTH 9 RUSH 7

DENVER - Eli McLaughlin scored two goals and set up another to lead the Colorado Mammoth to a 9-7 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush on Thursday in National Lacrosse League action.

Ilija Gajic also scored twice, Callum Crawford had a goal and four assists, and John Grant had a goal and two helpers for Colorado (5-2). Josh Sullivan, Chris Wardle, and Joey Cupido rounded out the offence while Dillon Ward stopped 47 shots.

Jarrett Davis had two goals for the Rush (3-2) and Robert Church chipped in with a goal and four assists. Mark Matthews had a three-point outing with a goal and two helpers, and Curtis Knight, Zack Greer and Ben McIntosh had the other goals. Aaron Bold made 25 saves in defeat.

(The Canadian Press)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

OWENS, ALLEN, BULCKE, CAMPBELL ON THE MOVE ON DAY 3

Moments after losing Canadian defensive lineman Brian Bulcke to Toronto, Kent Austin delivered a timely counter-punch to the arch-rival Argonauts.

The Hamilton head coach/GM agreed to terms with former Argos standout Chad Owens on a one-year deal Thursday, less than an hour after Bulcke agreed to go to Toronto following three seasons with the Tiger-Cats.

Owens' contract details weren't available, but Toronto GM Jim Barker had said it would be financially challenging to re-sign the former CFL outstanding player.

"There's nothing we can do about it,'' Barker said Thursday regarding the prospect of losing a veteran in free agency. "It's going to happen every year.''

Toronto also lost free-agent kicker/punter Swayze Waters to the NFL's Carolina Panthers but gained Calgary Stampeders defensive back Keon Raymond on the third day of CFL free agency.

With Bulcke gone, Hamilton re-signed Canadian free-agent defensive lineman Michael Atkinson to a two-year agreement.

For years, Owens was the face of the Argos. The five-foot-nine, 180-pound dynamo was named the CFL's outstanding player in 2012 after registering 94 catches for 1,328 yards and six touchdowns and amassing a record 3,840 all-purpose yards.

And the 33-year-old Hawaiian capped that season off by helping Toronto win the 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre. He signed a lucrative contract extension in June 2013 reportedly worth $225,000 annually and last year moved his family from Hawaii to live full-time in southern Ontario.

But after missing just two games his first three years in Toronto, Owens has been sidelined for 17 regular-season games the last three seasons. In 2015, he finished with 55 catches for 570 yards and two touchdowns over 13 contests.

Owens remained Toronto's leading punt returner - 37 returns, 12.6-yard average, one TD - but CFL rookie A.J. Jefferson (26 returns, 12.5-yard average, one touchdown) also performed admirably.

Shortly after agreeing to join the Ticats, Owens graciously thanked Argos fans for their support.

"There isn't enough words to express the gratitude I have for the Toronto Argonauts,'' Owens tweeted. "Teammates, coaches, and fans, it may seem that I've given you so much, but actually you've given my family and I so much more!

---

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The B.C. Lions signed free-agent running back Anthony Allen to a one-year deal Thursday.

Allen spent the last two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He appeared in 28 regular-season games, rushing for 1,504 yards on 261 carries with eight touchdowns.

Allen also had 48 catches for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

"Anthony is another experienced running back who brings an established set of skills to our team,'' Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono said in a statement. "We're trying to create the highest level of competition for the running back position this season and Anthony helps us along the way to achieving that goal.''

Allen earned a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens and also spent time with the Buffalo Bills before heading to the CFL.

---

TORONTO - The Toronto Argonauts have agreed to terms with free-agent defensive lineman Brian Bulcke.

The 28-year-old native of Windsor, Ont., fills a need for Toronto, which lost American defensive lineman Euclid Cummings in free agency to Winnipeg. Also, Canadian-born tackle Cleyon Laing and international end Tristan Okpalaugo are both exploring NFL opportunities.

The six-foot-four, 285-pound Bulcke spent the last three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but is coming off a season-ending knee injury. Bulcke also only played in eight games in 2014 before his campaign was ended prematurely by a biceps tear.

Bulcke was a dominant player in 2013, his first season with Hamilton, registering career highs in tackles (24), sacks (three) and fumble recoveries (three).

Bulcke played collegiately at Stanford.

---

The Saskatchewan Roughriders acquired Canadian defensive back Tevaughn Campbell from the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday for a 2017 fourth-round pick.

Campbell appeared in five games last season, registering seven tackles, one special-teams tackle and a knockdown. The Toronto native was a third-round pick, No. 22 overall, in the 2015 CFL draft out of the University of Regina.

"We had some concerns about Tevaughn's health and so we decided to move in a different direction,'' Calgary GM John Hufnagel said in a statement. ``We thank Tevaughn for his efforts during his one season with the Stampeders and wish him the best of luck in the future.''

(Canadian Press)

MEET THE NEW LOOK RIDERS


Group shot ... You're about to meet them all.


Sounds like something you'd order at Starbucks...


WR Shamawd Chambers ...


KR/REC Kendial Lawrence ...


DB/LB Otha Foster ... 


DB Ed Gainey ...


LB Greg Jones ... 

RB Curtis Steele ... 


John Murphy and Schad Richea ... 


DE Justin Capicciotti meets the media ....

DAY 2 CFL FREE AGENCY RECAP, CHRIS JONES QUOTES

Chris Jones is taking the same approach to rebuilding the Saskatchewan Roughriders that has won Grey Cup titles in his previous CFL stops.

The Riders' head coach/GM was busy bolstering his defence Wednesday, the second day of CFL free agency. He agreed to terms with Canadian defensive end Justin Capiccotti and signed linebacker Greg Jones and defensive backs Ed Gainey and Otha Foster.

Jones also added running backs Kendial Lawrence and Curtis Steele while acquiring American offensive lineman Bruce Campbell from the Toronto Argonauts for a 2016 fourth-round draft pick. Linebacker Jake Doughty and punter Ray Early, both Americans, were released.

"You've got to play defence in order to win championships,'' Jones told reporters Wednesday. "Everywhere we've been, we've been able to play good D and so adding these guys to what we already have is a good plus.''

Jones knows what it takes defensively to succeed. He won a Grey Cup in '02 as Montreal's defensive line coach before capturing titles as a defensive co-ordinator with Calgary ('08) and Toronto ('12). He led Edmonton to last year's league championship as the head coach but was still instrumental in the Eskimos' staunch defence.

Jones shored up his defence after focusing on the offence Tuesday. Saskatchewan extended offensive lineman Chris Best prior to the start of free agency. Then, after re-signing defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth, he secured deals with receiver Shamawd Chambers of Markham, Ont., the top Canadian in last year's Grey Cup and national offensive lineman Andrew Jones - both former Eskimos - as well as American receivers John Chiles and Jeremy Kelley.

Jones really drew the ire of Riders Nation last month when he released defensive end John Chick and receiver Weston Dressler - both fan favourites - for financial reasons. Dressler resurfaced with Winnipeg while Chick signed with Hamilton. But Jones was pleased Wednesday with the defensive talent the Riders amassed.

"You've got to be able to get after the quarterback and not have to blitz every down. We've tried, with the addition of (veteran defensive lineman Shawn) Lemon early and Capiccotti if he does indeed sign, those are two very good players.

"And, of course on the second level with Jones he's not only one of the better (middle) linebackers he's also a very good blitzer and tremendous special-teams guy. And in the secondary with the guys we've added it gives us versatility and guys that have played in the league and man cover.''

Capiccotti, a Toronto native, spent the last two years in Ottawa and was a CFL all-star last season. The six-foot-three, 235-pound end registered 23 sacks while with the Redblacks and was a highly sought commodity in free agency.

The six-foot, 242-pound Jones spent the last two seasons with Toronto. Last year, the 27-year-old started all 18 regular-season games and registered a team-high 98 tackles.

Jones was also a member of the New York Giants 2011 Super Bowl-winning squad.

The five-foot-11, 195-pound Gainey spent the last two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after beginning his CFL career in Montreal. The 25-year-old has played in 43 career games with 69 tackles, 25 special-teams tackles, two interceptions and three fumble returns, including one for a touchdown.

The six-foot-four, 212-pound Foster spent the last two seasons with Edmonton, starting all 33 regular-season games he appeared in. He recorded 103 tackles, seven special-teams tackles and two interceptions.


Other moves Wednesday, included:

- Toronto re-signed veteran running back Brandon Whitaker, the East Division's second-leading rusher last season.

- Hamilton added Demond Washington, the former Winnipeg defensive back/kick-returner while announcing the re-signing of veteran Canadian defensive tackle Ted Laurent and return of American offensive lineman Brian Simmons.

- Ottawa signed Canadian defensive lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, a former Ticat and Montreal native.

- Edmonton re-signed linebacker JC Sherrit, the CFL's top defensive player in 2012.

- Calgary added receiver Bakari Grant and linebacker Taylor Reed, both former Ticats.

- B.C. agreed to terms with running back Jeremiah Johnson while signing offensive lineman Levy Adcock, both Americans.

Saskatchewan announced the signing of Chambers on Wednesday. Chambers spent four seasons with Edmonton, playing in 50 career regular-season games with 112 receptions for 1,234 yards and seven TDs.

"He's one of the top guys out there and he's a young guy who has all the physical tools in the world,'' Jones said. "Certainly he's able to play in a lot of different places for us.''

The five-foot-nine, 195-pound Lawrence spent the last two seasons in Edmonton after beginning his CFL career in Hamilton. In Lawrence, the Riders have versatile performer who can play running back and receiver while also returning kicks.

"He can play across the board for us offensively,'' Jones said. "He needs to work on his blocking, that's the thing he knows going in.''

(Canadian Press)

RIDERS SIGN CAPICCIOTTI



The Roughriders have confirmed the signing of free agent non-import defensive lineman Justin Capicciotti.  Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones told reporters on Wednesday that the veteran Canadian has agreed to terms and the contract was being registered with the league.

Capicciotti was identified as one of the Top 30 CFL free agents by CFL.ca after registering double-digit sack totals the past two seasons with the RedBlacks.

The Riders are expected to announce the signing Thursday morning.

RP

THIS WEEK IN COUGAR ATHLETICS

At Home – Friday
Women's Hockey vs. Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m
Track & Field at Regina Indoor Games, Day 1

At Home – Saturday
Men’s Hockey vs. Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m.
Track & Field at Regina Indoor Games

On the Road – Thursday (all times CST)
Women’s Basketball at Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Men’s Basketball at Calgary, 9:00 p.m.

On the Road – Friday (all times CST)
Wrestling at Canada West Championships, Day 1 (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Hockey at Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Women’s Basketball at Calgary, 7:00 p.m. (Calgary, Alta.)
Men’s Basketball at Calgary, 9:00 p.m. (Calgary, Alta.)
Track & Field at Golden Bear Challenge, Day 1 (Edmonton, Alta.)

On the Road – Saturday (all times CST)
Wrestling at Canada West Championships, Day 2 (Winnipeg, Man.)
Track & Field at Golden Bear Challenge, Day 2 (Edmonton, Alta.)
Women’s Hockey at Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (Saskatoon, Sask.)

Wrestling (Women's CIS Ranking: No. 3 / Men's CIS Ranking: No. 8) – The Cougars are set for the Canada West Championships this weekend in Winnipeg. Both teams are ranked in the CIS Top Ten and have athletes looking to defend their gold medals from last year, including Lucas Hoffert in the men’s 68 kg division and Kayla Brodner in the women’s 67 kg class. Catch both days of the conference meet live at www.canadawest.tv.

Women's Hockey (CIS Ranking: No. 10) – The wild Canada West standings will soon be sorted out with the final weekend of conference play upcoming. The Cougars (12-9-4-1) could finish anywhere from first place to fourth, but enter the weekend in second place – one point behind first-place UBC, and one ahead of third-place Alberta. Regina meets fourth-place Saskatchewan this weekend in a home-and-home set, with Friday’s game at The Co-operators Centre and Saturday’s game taking place in Saskatoon. The Cougars split last weekend with UBC, losing 3-0 on Friday but bouncing back for a 3-2 win the following night.

Men's Hockey – The Cougars will wrap up their 2015-16 season this weekend against provincial rival Saskatchewan. Regina (6-20-0) split with UBC last weekend, falling 5-3 before rebounding for a hard-fought 2-1 win at home. The Cougars will be on the road on Friday against the No. 3-ranked Huskies before returning home to close out the year against Saskatchewan on Saturday night (7:00).

Women's Basketball (CIS Ranking: No. 3) – The Cougars (15-1) ran their win streak to 10 after two home wins over Victoria last weekend, taking out the Vikes by scores of 80-61 and 84-73. Now with just four games left on the Canada West schedule, the Cougars will travel to Calgary this weekend for a Thursday/Friday series against the Dinos (13-4). The U of R has already clinched a bye through to the Canada West quarterfinals, and one win over Calgary this weekend will ensure home court advantage.

Men's Basketball – The Cougars (10-6) enjoyed a massive home weekend, sweeping Victoria for the first time in program history. They dominated in Friday’s 85-73 win, then scored a come-from-behind 91-82 win on Saturday to jump into fourth place in the Pioneer Division standings. Now just one win from clinching a postseason berth for the first time since 2011, the Cougars are on the road at Calgary this Thursday and Friday.

Track & Field – Tevaughn Campbell won the 60-metre dash and the 4x200-metre relay team consisting of Connor Bloom, Kahlen Branning, William Chamney, and Preston Liebrecht also finished first as the Cougars competed in the Bison Classic last weekend in Winnipeg. Interim head coach Wade Huber will split the squad this coming weekend, with part of the team to travel to Edmonton for the Golden Bear Challenge and the rest of the squad to stay home to compete in the Regina Indoor Games at the Regina Fieldhouse.

Men's Volleyball – The Cougars split at MacEwan last weekend, losing in four sets on Friday but recovering for a marathon five-set victory on Saturday. Joshua Nickel was the team’s offensive leader with 13 kills in Saturday’s win, while veteran Andre Borgeaud had 10 kills and 13 digs for a double-double. The Cougars (2-20) will have this weekend off before finishing off the 2015-16 season on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 at Saskatchewan.

Women's Volleyball – The Cougars were defeated twice by MacEwan last weekend in Edmonton, falling in four on Friday and going up 1-0 and 2-1 in Saturday’s match before eventually losing a hard-fought battle in five sets to the Griffins. Regina (1-21) will complete the season on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 in Saskatoon, as the Cougars will try to play the role of spoiler as Saskatchewan remains in contention for the final Canada West postseason berth.

(Courtesy Braden Konschuh/Cougar Athletics)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RIDERS SIGN CURTIS STEELE

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced international free agent running back Curtis Steele has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
Steele (5'11 – 190) joins the Riders after spending the last three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. Through his first three seasons, the 28-year-old Memphis product has 138 carries for 820 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 49 receptions for 383 yards and one touchdown.

RIDERS SIGN OTHA FOSTER

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced international free agent defensive back Otha Foster has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
 
Foster (6’4 – 212) will join the Riders for his third CFL season. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos starting all 33 regular season games played totaling 103 defensive tackles, seven special teams tackles, and two interceptions.
 
Last season, Foster started 17 regular season games picking up 57 defensive tackles and one interception – which was returned 45 yards for a touchdown. He added four more defensive tackles in the playoffs.
 
Foster won his first career Grey Cup with the Eskimos in 2015. 

RIDERS RELEASE DOUGHTY AND EARLY

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced the release of international linebacker Jake Doughty and international punter Ray Early.
 
Doughty played seven games in his only season with the Riders collecting 30 defensive tackles and three special teams tackles.
 
Early dressed for all 18 games in 2015 carrying a 45-yard average on 110 punts for 4,955 yards. 

RIDERS SIGN GREG JONES

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced international free agent linebacker Greg Jones has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
 
Jones (6’0 – 242) has signed with the Riders after spending the last two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts.
 
Last season the 27-year-old Michigan State product registered a team leading 98 defensive tackles and 17 special teams tackles starting all 18 regular season games on his way to being named a 2015 East Division All-Star.
 
Prior to arriving in the CFL Jones spent two seasons in the NFL playing six games with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. He also played 16 regular season games – with five starts – and four playoff games with the 2011 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

RIDERS ACQUIRE CAMPBELL FROM ARGOS

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired international offensive lineman Bruce Campbell from the Toronto Argonauts. In exchange the Riders have sent their 4th round selection (27th overall) in the 2016 CFL Draft and the rights to a negotiation list player to the Argos. 
Campbell (6'7 – 317) started all 15 regular season games played and the East Semi-Final for the Argonauts last year after signing with the team in March, 2015. 
The 27-year-old was originally selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round (106th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft out of the University of Maryland. Campbell went to play 14 regular season games with the Raiders during his first two seasons before joining the Carolina Panthers in 2012 where he played five regular season games.
"We are happy to add an experienced offensive lineman to our roster," stated Riders general manager and head coach, Chris Jones. "Bruce is one of the most athletic players at his position and has a chance to be an impact left tackle in our league." 

RIDERS SIGN KENDIAL LAWRENCE

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today international free agent receiver/returner Kendial Lawrence has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
Lawrence (5'9 – 195) has signed with the Riders after spending the last two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos. He originally entered the CFL with Hamilton Tiger-Cats in September, 2013.
Through his first three seasons, Lawrence has played 35 regular season games totaling 562 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 95 carries and 778 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 78 receptions. He has also added 59 kickoff returns for 1,359 yards and two touchdowns, and 142 punt returns for 1,410 yards and one touchdown. He has spent time at both receiver and running back.   
Last season, Lawrence played 17 regular season games and was a key component in the Eskimos post-season run.     
He won his first Grey Cup championship with Edmonton in 2015.

RIDERS SIGN ED GAINEY

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced free agent international defensive back Ed Gainey has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
Gainey (5'11 – 195) will join the Riders for his fifth CFL season. The 25-year-old Appalachian State product spent his first two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes after signing with the team ahead of the 2012 season. He then signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a free agent in July, 2014.
Through 43 career regular season games, Gainey has collected 69 defensive tackles, 25 special teams tackles and two interceptions. He has also scooped three fumble returns, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

RIDERS SIGN CHAMBERS

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced free agent national receiver Shamawd Chambers has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
Chambers (6'3 – 219) signs with the Green and White after spending the last four seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos after originally being selected by the team in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2012 CFL Draft. 
Through 50 career regular season games, Chambers has recorded 112 receptions for 1,234 yards and seven touchdowns. 
He won his first Grey Cup championship with the Eskimos in 2015 and was named the game's Most Valuable Canadian. 

TICATS RETAIN LAURENT, FANTUZ

Laurent
As of early Wednesday morning the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had yet to officially announce the re-signing of free agent Canadians Ted Laurent and Andy Fantuz.

However Drew Edwards of the Hamilton Spectator is reporting the Ticats have in fact signed Laurent - a veteran defensive tackle who was considered the most-prized free agent on the market - two a two-year deal which will pay the Ole Miss product $240,000 in 2016 and $270,000 in 2017.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes were also reportedly interested in Laurent's services.

Meanwhile Edwards reports Fantuz will be back in Hamilton for a fifth season after signing a new deal with the Tabbies however financial terms were not disclosed.

Wednesday marks Day 2 of CFL 2016 Free Agency and it promises to be another busy day, just like Tuesday.  Multiple reports suggest the Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed Canadian receiver Shamawd Chambers - a former first round pick of the Edmonton Eskimos - however the team has yet to confirm it.  The signing was reportedly announced on Facebook by Chambers' mother.

When Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones left his Tuesday news conference at Mosaic Stadium, he cheerfully mentioned to reporters, "We'll see ya'll tomorrow!" which was an indication that Wednesday will be another busy day.

RP

THE WEDNESDAY THRILLER ... WITH PHIL ANDREWS

Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews
Happy Wednesday Everybody!

- As always lets start with the Regina Pats. What an incredible weekend at the Brandt Centre. The team was dominant in a 5-1 win over Medicine Hat on Friday night. It was a massive game with the Tigers just 5 points back in the Eastern Conference standings heading in. The Pats had their foot on the gas from the start and didn't look back. Adam Brooks had another night to remember with 4 assists and Tyler Brown did the rest making 41 saves.

On Saturday, well, what a game. The Prince George Cougars were in town and it was the best game of the year in my opinion. From the animosity on the ice, the comeback and the atmosphere in the building... again what a game. The Pats won 5-3 thanks to a late goal from Rykr Cole and then Cole Sanford sealed it with an empty netter, his second goal of the contest and third point. The game got off to a dirty start, after every whistle the Pats were getting abused and Austin Wagner was forced to leave the game after taking a slash on the wrist from Sam Ruopp. However the Pats didn't back down, battled back from a two goal deficit in the second for the win. Tyler Brown was absolutely fantastic and his two saves on Jesse Gabrielle going post to post will challenge for the WHL plays of the week. A performance to remember and for the first time this year the Pats won on back to back nights.

- It's amazing what a two win weekend can do for a team. The outlook is so positive, especially with the Moose Jaw Warriors well within striking distance, just 5 points ahead and the Pats have two games in hand. The Warriors will host the Prince Albert Raiders tonight. Moose Jaw lost captain Brayden Point to injury again on Friday and he did not suit up Saturday against the Red Deer Rebels. I have not heard the extent of the injury but Point has not been the same player since before his first injury this season. Dryden Hunt however has been unbelievable. Was named the WHL's player of the month last week and is two points back of the Regina Pats Adam brooks for the WHL scoring lead.

- Speaking of injuries. Some startling rumours coming out of Kelowna as it pertains to their starting goaltender Jackson Whistle. The talk around the rink this weekend was that Whistle could be done for the year with a hip injury. What a loss that would be for the defending champion Rockets. However Michael Herringer has filled in admirably in Whistle's absence.

- As for the Pats injuries, things are looking a lot brighter for Fridays game against Prince Albert. The Pats will get defenceman Connor Hobbs as well as forwards Adam Berg and Aaron Macklin back into the lineup. Hobbs missed the last 7, Berg the last 5 and Macklin the last 4, all with upper-body injuries. Austin Wagner meanwhile is day to day and the team will see how his wrist progresses this week. Luckily for him it is not broken and if he does miss time it won't be long term.

- Back to the Pats. forward Jared McAmmond had quite a weekend. First he got back into the lineup on Friday after missing time with an upper-body injury. Then on Saturday he celebrated his 19th birthday by scoring a big goal in his 100th career game against the Prince George Cougars. Great to see for the Grande Chache product who has been so good and worked so hard this season.

- I want to recognize the play of the Swift Current Broncos today. A lot of people probably counted the Broncos out after trading away forward Jake DeBrusk and goaltender Landon Bow ahead of the deadline. However, the Broncos are the hottest team outside the playoffs right now having won 7 of their last 10 and sit 9 points out. They are the closest team to Edmonton and Regina who both have 53 points on the year. Head Coach and GM Mark Lamb deserves a lot of credit for bringing in guys who can play in the trades. Lane Pedersen has provided scoring after coming over from Red Deer and forward Jamal Watson and goaltender Taz Burman have been great since coming from Seattle. They are going to continue to push for a post season berth with 20 games left.

- Big congrats to Ron Robison on the 5 year extension as the WHL's commissioner. A great guy that has been so good for the league and major junior hockey in Canada! Not a surprise the board of governors wanted to keep him around.

- Sidney Crosby is back to being Sidney Crosby. Watched the Penguins take on the Ducks on Monday and my goodness he looks like the best player in the world again. Crosby scored an absolute beauty as a part of a two goal performance on Monday and has goals in 7 straight. The Penguins look like a contender again after the coaching change.

- Super Bowl 50 was ok. It wasn't the most exciting game but the Denver defence was fun to watch. Obviously they were the deciding factor in the win. Congrats to Peyton Manning! He didn't have to carry the team but I would be surprised if he doesn't ride off into the sunset as a champion. A heck of a way to go out. As for the criticism on the Panthers Cam Newton... Give the guy a break. Yes he was less than accommodating in his post game interview but go lose a Super Bowl and then you can give him a hard time for not taking it in stride.

- I have nothing to say on CFL Free Agency except that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have to be over the salary cap already. Every time I opened Twitter on Tuesday they had signed a new player and the money totals are not low.

- Tonight's Pats TV on Access 7 starting at 6:30 includes my guests assistant coach Brad Herauf and forwards Cole Sanford and Jared McAmmond.

That's all I have for today, have a great week!

Phil
@PhilAndrewsCKRM

TICATS SIGN HOFFMAN-ELLIS

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Tuesday that the football club has signed international free agent linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis to a two-year contract.

Hoffman-Ellis, 26, posted 57 defensive tackles and three interceptions in 17 games (10 starts) with the B.C. Lions in 2015, his first full CFL season. He played one game in 2014 for the Lions, his CFL debut on November 7versus Calgary, collecting eight defensive tackles and one forced fumble.

The 6-0, 230-pound native of Los Angeles, California was an undrafted free agent signing of the St. Louis Rams in 2012 and attending the team's training camp. Prior to turning pro, Hoffman-Ellis appeared in 35 games over three seasons at Washington State, collecting 178 defensive tackles and four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.