Rider running back greats Tim McCray, Mike Saunders (my all-time fav), Kenton Keith and Wes Cates had all played their last game by that age and Jerome can’t be all that far behind. His 6-figure salary alone would make him expendable if he doesn’t outshine Cameron Marshall and/or Trent Richardson, despite his non-import status.
As TSN’s Duane Forde put it last week, Coach Chris Jones likes to stockpile his puzzle pieces first and then figure out the puzzle later. Jerome was clearly enjoying the limelight at last week’s Regina Thunder dinner but there’s no guarantee he makes it past training camp.
2 –MANZIEL BETTER NOT GET SIDE-DEAL: The 2-year entry-level process for players entering the CFL is there for a reason and Johnny Manziel should be treated no differently. If he’s going to take the proper time to learn that 3-down offense and get the hang of it, he’ll never even get the chance to put it to use if the Ticats let him scamper off to the NFL after one season.
If Jeff Garcia was forced to give the Calgary Stampeders a multi-year return on their investment in him in order to earn a CFL contract, then so should Johnny Football in Hamilton.
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3 – NARCISSE MADE RIDERS RELEVANT: Donald Narcisse said his goodbye’s over the weekend and moved home to Texas again. It’s not the ’89 Grey Cup or what Narco did in the community that I’ll always appreciate him for, but rather for making my childhood trips to Taylor Field a little more bearable.
The late 90’s tore the guts out of this province and the Roughriders weren’t spared either. It wasn’t like those back-to-back last-place finishes of 2015 and 2016. The team had literally no hope of accomplishing anything and there was no thought of it realistically ever getting any better.
But there was always Narco. Always a smile on his face. Always played hard and at least pretended like he wanted to be here. He was a ray of sunshine on otherwise cloudy, depressing few years.
So long Donald, we’ll never see another like you!
4 – STRASCHNITZKI RIGHT ABOUT HUMBOLDT GOFUNDME: I would hate to be the ones deciding how to divvy up the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund but Tom Straschnitzki has an intriguing idea: Just split it up evenly for each person killed/injured in that bus crash.
Now at first, it sounds like a simple solution for a not-simple situation. In fact, one might suggest Tom’s own son Ryan, who is paralyzed from the chest down since the accident, should get more than the average victim. But the more I think about, it’s really not such a crazy idea at all.
Each one of the victims and their families have had their expenses incurred and personal struggles as a result of this tragedy and deciphering whose been victimized more than the other will prove to be a nearly impossible task. That said, I do think some priority will need to be given to those who now have to live with the worst injuries.
But it’s an idea worth considering.
5 – MOOSE JAW SHOULD BID FOR MEMORIAL CUP: It will probably be a while before the WHL’s Eastern Conference hosts another national championship with Red Deer hosting one 2 years ago and the Regina Pats putting on this year’s tournament later this month. But the City of Moose Jaw should seriously consider putting in a bid of their own for next time it comes around these parts.
Think about it.
Not far from a major airport and the city would go bananas for it. It's not fair for teams like the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos, and Prince Albert Raiders to keep having to fight their way into the Mem Cup every year when teams like Regina and Saskatoon get an automatic birth every 20 years or so.
And if Brandon or Red Deer could make it work, so could Moose Jaw.
6 – WHL FINALS A REMINDER OF WHAT’S WRONG WITH HOCKEY: Since the WHL championship isn’t available on cable television, I listened to Game 1 last Friday night on the radio and it sounded pretty clear to me that once the Everett Silvertips got a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period, they just collapsed all 5 of their players to the front of the net to block all scoring chances. Thankfully, the Swift Current Broncos were able to crack that nut late in Game 2 but there’s still too much of that garbage happening in the playoffs.
It’s dreadful to watch and it happened in Game 7 of the SJHL finals too. The time has come for illegal defense penalties to be introduced when that happens. Stop letting teams bring more than 3 skaters in behind their own face-off circles. Sounds radical now but if the NHL had done something like this years ago, we wouldn’t have had to outlaw ties or tell goalies to stop playing the puck in the hexagon behind the net.
7 –BETTMAN SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED: Still can’t believe the NHL head office is so gutless it can’t even suspend Brad Marchand for his licking of Ryan Callahan, long after they warned him to stop licking in the first place. It’s another sign Commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t want to interfere with “hockey decisions” out of fear of angering the purists who know Gary really isn’t much of a hockey fan at all.
But Gary needs to get more involved and here’s why: When the NFL has a problem with headshots creating star quarterback injuries and legal liabilities, their Commissioner Roger Goodell steps in and fixes it. The NHL could use some more of that in this situation and when it comes to getting scoring back up to an acceptable level (8.5 goals per game).
8 – STILL RUNNING WITH THE JETS: Sad about those poor Winnipeg Jet fans who waited in the heat all day Monday to see their team punch its first-ever ticket to a Stanley Cup semi-final, only to head home disappointed. I picked the Peg to get to the finals and meet the Caps and I’m sticking with it. The Jets will quiet Music City in Game 7. You heard it here first!
9 – RAPTORS DON’T NEED CHANGE: Legendary Boston Globe scribe Bob Ryan recently told the talk show airwaves there was nothing the Toronto Raptors could do to stop LeBron James and he was probably right. Disappointing end for #wethenorth and especially DeMar DeRozan who sucked in game 3. But this crew appeared to lack leadership down the stretch this season and learned a few lessons in this episode of ‘Lebronto is the Raptors Daddy’. They have all summer to think about it and I expect a better DeRozan, Lowry and Serge Ibaka when they come back for training camp in October. If this experience won’t humble those guys, nothing will.
10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: Small Potatoes: Who killed the USFL? This was one of the original ESPN 30 for 30’s that became so popular, they created a whole series around it. Donald Trump takes control of a group of struggling United States Football League owners and proceeds to run it right into the ground. It was probably headed there anyways but it’s still fun to blame ‘The Donald’ for screwing it up faster than he needed to anyways.