|Duron Carter is no stranger to Rider fans|
1 - What did I miss after a week in Mexico? It appears like ... a lot. Let's recap: the Riders signed Kevin Glenn and Duron Carter, released four fairly high profile players such as Mitchell Gale, Shamawd Chambers and Curtis Steele, Henry Burris retired, Argo fans feel their team should be renamed the Toronto Titanics after the departures of GM Jim Barker and HC Scott Milanovich, and U.S. President Donald Trump J. has turned the world upside down.
We'll delve into all these situations here today, and more.
2 - Rider fans who say, "I can't cheer for this team because I don't know any of the players" will have to find a different complaint after last week's signings of Duron Carter and Kevin Glenn. Neither is a stranger to the Rider Nation and we all know this is Kevin's third tour of duty with the Green & White.
Is Glenn a legitimate contender to be starting at quarterback in Week 1? I'd be shocked if that's why he was signed and it's a question I'm eager to put to the Rider brass at the next opportunity.
At the very least, he's great insurance and it's likely Glenn's career is far from over. I was honestly surprised to learn he's only 37 years old. It seems like K.G.'s been around forever and in fact, he has.
3 - Back to Duron Carter because it's a fascinating signing. He immediately has the talents to be the best receiver - or even player - in the CFL. I have an inclination to compare him to Randy Moss or Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson (or even Terrell Owens as a I did last week) as NFL players who bounced around at the end of their careers but that tag just doesn't seem to fit in Carter's case.
Those greats put up 1,000 yards almost every year while Carter's only done it once in his three seasons in the CFL (1,030 in 2014, earning him a contract with the Indianapolis Colts).
But Duron Carter is only 25 years old. He has barely scratched the surface when it comes to what he's capable of in pro football. I think Rider receivers coach Markus Howell can turn him into a superstar but that's only IF Carter's ready to get serious about his career. Chris Jones will likely have the biggest hand in that.
It's a great signing and remember that although Carter comes with a lot of baggage, he's never been in trouble off the field.
4 - Rider fans moan about not knowing who the current players are but they're still 100% dialed into this team. GOD BLESS RIDER FANS. Hits to this website have never been higher and that includes both IN-season and off-season. We're at 13,000 per day and climbing, and will hit 18-million all-time hits this week.
So Rider fans are very much paying attention to what's going on and my guess is there's likely already a rush for #89 CARTER jerseys.
But the fans do have a point. The signings of Kendial Lawrence, Curtis Steele, Shamawd Chambers, Justin Capicciotti and Shawn Lemon were much-hyped 11 months ago but none of them lasted a calendar year here.
Hopefully there's no revolving door on the Rider locker room in New Mosaic Stadium.
5 - On the retirement of Henry Burris, honestly I was very surprised. It had to be verrrry difficult for Hank to pull a "Jerry Seinfeld" and go out on top but that's exactly what Henry Burris did by retiring just a few months after winning a championship. That's Peyton Manning-style too, but Peyton's body just wouldn't allow him to go on any longer. Henry Burris looks like he's 25, particularly his trademark rocket arm.
But good for Hank! He's a very solid dude who leaves the game as a Hall of Famer and will immediately jump into a position at the Ottawa CTV television affiliate. Politics is likely in his future too, just like his father.
Henry, of course, served two stints with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and his finest game in Green & White was the 2004 West Final at BC. He threw for 411 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in an eventual 27-25 OT loss to the Lions. That was the famed "McCallum Miss" game.
The attendance that afternoon at B.C. Place Stadium?
Those were the days.
6 - Am I the only one who's noticed a Winnipeg Blue Bombers billboard on Saskatchewan Drive, just south of Taylor Field? The blue sign has a photo of Weston Dressler on it and blares, "WINNIPEG IS ONLY A SIX HOUR DRIVE".
My first reaction was, "Ya, so?" Then I wondered if the Bombers don't realize we have GPS in Saskatchewan?
And then I chuckled as I headed east towards downtown on Sunday. It's all in good fun and the Bombers have taken a page out of the Riders' marketing handbook.
It's my belief that the CFL should participate in 12-month marketing because, after all, the stadiums were far from full last year and the league wasn't #1 in the TV ratings week-after-week.
Going "dark" or underground is the silliest thing I've ever heard of.
7 - One last note about the Darian Durant Trade: the Chicken Littles in the Rider Nation are in a major panic that the team is without a marquee quarterback for the 2017 season. It seems to me that Darian finally won over the entirety of Rider fans just in time to be dealt away.
Isn't that always the way? You don't appreciate what you had until it's gone. For some.
8 - Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan of Regina could have a career as a political commentator after his pro football days are over. Consider Jon's Facebook comments on the weekend about some of the new policies under USA President Donald J. Trump:
"Please stop disrespecting our intelligence and saying you're pro life. You're pro birth, you're pro white, male, upper class, American born. You don't give a flying f--k about the people you are sending out of this country to places you could never imagine. In many cases you are sending them to their deaths by sending them out of this country. In one week you set this country back 100 years and the most sickening part of it is that there is actually people in this country applauding your despicable actions. Embarrassing."
*As one of my Greek cousins pointed out on Sunday, there's not much we as Canadians can do about what's going on in America so try to sit back and enjoy the ride. Hopefully we don't get blown to smithereens in the process.
9 - There's still time to join us in Arizona next month! The Riderville Arizona Tour III is going to be the biggest event yet as we now have planned the Coyotes-Canadiens NHL game February 9 as well as the Suns-Bulls NBA game on February 10!
Of course the SportsCage will be broadcasting live from the Whiskey Rose adjacent to Gila River Arena on February 9 and as an added bonus, Rider legend George Reed, other Rider alumni and I will be at The Draft sports bar in Mesa, AZ for a Rider party from Noon-3:00 pm on Friday, February 10! For details on these events or to confirm your attendance, please click here.
For Coyotes-Canadiens tickets (to sit with other Rider fans) please click here. The promo code is RIDERS.
And for Suns-Bulls NBA tickets (again, to sit with Rider fans) please click here. The promo code is RIDER.
If you have any issues with these links, please email me immediately at PedersenMedia@outlook.com and I'll handle it personally.
10 - About the Toronto Argonauts. A very wise hockey man once told me, "What other teams do is their business." I've never forgotten that so I'll skip comment on the current plight of the Double Blue other than to wish them good luck.
Their fans are livid and even some of their players have taken to social media to voice their displeasure over the loss of Barker and Milanovich.
It certainly appears to be some unorthodox management but you never know what goes on behind the scenes. At 5-13, it's reasonable to expect a housecleaning after how long that regime had been in charge however I'm told Barker and Milanovich were handcuffed by a lot of factors including a paper-thin football operations budget.
Again, good luck to Argos President Michael Copeland. Just like in Montreal, perhaps new GM Kavis Reed will turn out to be the next Bill Polian.
11 - How shocking that the bid put forth by the Regina Pats and ownership group QCSEG last week was one of the best the CHL has ever seen! (Not shocking at all).
The Leader Post's Greg Harder did a nice job of his story on the Pats' bid last week and my heart sang with glee all the way down in Cancun as I read the comments from selection committee member Gordon Kirke (the former agent for Eric Lindros), It certainly looks positive for the Regina Pats to land the 2018 Memorial Cup.
Now we cross our fingers and hope the vote turns out in Regina's favour. As we know, there are no slam dunks in sports boardrooms.
And don't forget ... the Pats visit the Saskatoon Blades Monday in the annual "school" game at 11:30 am.
12 - All Star Games are a necessary evil in sports but it didn't stop media pundits and fans alike from bemoaning the lack of intensity in the NHL and NFL games on Sunday. NBC's Pierre McGuire was raving about "the pace" of Sunday's game in L.A. and for all-the-world, I couldn't figure out what he was talking about. Even the Pro Bowl in Orlando looked to be in slow-mo but they cranked it up a notch from their hockey counterparts.
Hopefully you enjoyed it for what it was: a collection of the games' finest stars.
BIRTHDAYS: Happy birthday to Regina Pats alumni Rob Tudor and Rocky Dundas!
THAT'S ALL! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO MONDAY AT 4:00 PM