Realty One

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


TORONTO - CFL players can look forward to the elimination of padded practices during the regular season and the addition of more time for rest and recovery.

The CFL and CFL Players' Association announced Wednesday that effective immediately, full-contact padded practices will be discontinued during the regular season. And next year, teams will get an extra bye week to help reduce the risk of player injury.

The timing of the announcement was surprising given the CFL is in the second half of the season. But new commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the two developments simply went hand in hand.

"The two pieces just fit together,'' Ambrosie said. "It was clear we had an opportunity to get this out and do something proactive for player safety.

"The timing couldn't have been better.''

Previously, CFL teams could hold a total of 17 padded practices following training camp.

In the NFL, clubs can have 11 padded practices over the first 11 weeks of the season, a maximum of one per week. After that, teams can have three more for a total of 14 on the year.

The 2018 CFL regular season will be extended one week to 21. As a result, each team will have three bye weeks instead of two.

Wednesday's announcement is good news for CFL players but not so much for coaches, especially when it comes to evaluating new players in practice.

"There's no doubt our coaches are going to feel an effect of this,'' Ambrosie said. "The good thing is practising without pads is nothing new to our coaches ... most of the teams as you get closer to the end of the season throttle back on the number of shoulder-padded practices anyway.

"But I also think it creates an opportunity for our coaches to find new techniques and innovations that will allow them to help train and develop our guys while reducing the amount of contact they have in practice. I'm confident they're up to that.''

Brian Ramsay, the CFLPA's executive director, said the new initiative enhances player safety.

"Any time you can immediately and positively affect player safety and their welfare, I think you're going to find we're fully supportive of that,'' he said. "To be able to do this and build on the relationship between (the CFL and CFLPA) and be able to make a monumental decision within a season, speaks to the growth in the relationship.''

Ambrosie said the move should enhance the likelihood of the CFL's top stars staying on the field.

"What the league and players together have done is a smart investment in making sure our best players stay on the field and are healthy,'' he said. "I think that's what our fans want .... and anything we can do to keep our guys healthy, strong and safe just means we should end up with a much better product on the field.''

Ambrosie played eight CFL seasons as an offensive lineman with Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton (1985-93). He estimates such a move during his tenure on the field might have extended his career.

"I have thought about that,'' he said. "I guess you'll never know but I would have appreciated less contact and I'm sure it would have helped.

"Maybe it would have added a year or two to my career back then but what's more important is we've got world-class athletes today and anything we can do to keep them on the field longer and help them be ready to play the next week is what we're focused on.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Amazing what actually being there means to changes for the better. I like what he is doing so far.

John Knight said...

Good plan for extra bye week but they better do a better job of spreading them out. Riders had 2 bye weeks before some teams had one. How does that help player safety

Anonymous said...

This is a slippery slope, the pros probably don't need to hit during practice ,but the thing is this decision will inevitably trickle down to the university/junior, highshool, and pop warner levels. Soon nobody will know how to tackle because it's not worked on, you can't just show up to a game and expect to do it properly. It'll end up some version of flag football, not something I'd want to watch.

Anonymous said...

The season is getting longer?! Instead of adding bye weeks and playing in December how 'bout a 16 game schedule? Oh,

Have fun competing an extra week with the NFL and NHL.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they add the week at the beginning of the year

I like the changes how many times are players injured in practice? Seems like a lot but then again, how many were injured during pad practice?

Anonymous said...

now move season up a month,so cup can be played regularly @ cfl "shrine mosaic"! no need to be playing in -35 degree temperature!!

Grant said...

The CFL needs to start the regular season June 1 or the first weekend in June. Have FOOTBALL DAY in CANADA on July 1st. Have one game the evening of June 30th, then have three games on July 1st. Play the GREY CUP the last Sunday in October. This will alleviate the Grey Cup played in the low minus temperatures.

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of the new commish. I believe he has done more for the league in a couple of months than any other has done in the past 3 years. Cohon was great too but his last year he cruised and well Orridge was a flop.

On the extra week. I like it. As long as the bye weeks are spread evenly throughout the season for all teams its a great idea. Fresh legs, fresh minds = better football.

On the no pads at practice, as much as I like controlling the hitting at practice, even at the pro level you need to practice with pads to play the game at full speed. Once a pro, one should have the concepts down on talking, throwing, catching but the younger players still have to learn the game and they do that in practice and likely have very limited, if any, game time. How do they prepare? I also will echo some of the comments on the trickle down to lower levels of football. How I see this shaking out is more controlled practices and less games at all levels. Not sure how the Junior and University money making programs will like this however. High school and pop warner will adapt. Technique at all positions is critical to the game of football being played fast and under control. Not sure this decision will be best for football. Players injuries...absolutely a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Agee with poster #4. Shorten the season to 16 games. Home and home with each team. Pretty easy.