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Around the CFL: June 20, 2006

<p>Doug Flutie would like to become a head coach in the Canadian Football League. And he has made certain club officials in the CFL aware of that.</p>


Doug Flutie would like to become a head coach in the Canadian Football League.


And he has made certain club officials in the CFL aware of that.


Sources tell us that Flutie, who retired as the New England Patriots’ backup quarterback recently to start a career as a National Football League television analyst, has told the owners of the Toronto Argonauts that he would like to be considered for the team’s head-coaching position after Michael (Pinball) Clemons changes jobs.


Clemons, as Metro has reported before, has aspirations of becoming involved in politics and is interested in becoming the mayor of Toronto some day.


Flutie, who played with Clemons in Toronto during the Argos’ championship years last decade, is recognized by many as the finest player in CFL history and will be inducted into Canada’s Football Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible.


“Right now,” a source close to Flutie told me, “Doug wants to get good at being a color commentator. But I guarantee you coaching is on his mind and he’d like to start as a head coach in the CFL. He’d like to be a head coach in the NFL eventually, too. He knows the game so well. That’s why he’s asked people in the CFL to consider him and keep him in mind when there are coaching openings. He will be a coach some day, guaranteed, and he’d like to begin in the CFL because that’s the game he knows so well.”


In Toronto, offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin is generally perceived as Clemons’s heir apparent.


Things can change, however, especially in the CFL.


• Another one of the quarterbacks from the Flutie-Austin era is not getting off to an impressive start as a head coach in this, his seventh season in charge of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s early, of course, but Danny Barrett already is in jeopardy of becoming the ex-coach of the Roughriders.


Barrett’s team was absolutely crushed by the B.C. Lions in their season-opener last week. The Riders were dreadful. The Lions prevailed 45-28, and B.C. quarterback Dave Dickenson needed only to play three quarters.


The teams have a rematch Sunday in Regina, and an improved performance by the Riders already is a must for Barrett. He needs to sharpen up on his video-replay challenges, too. Barrett was 0-for-2 on challenges during the opener.


As Saskatchewan defensive lineman Scott Schultz suggested, the Riders simply were “junk.”


• It’s about Spergon Wynn.


I’m not sure he can. Win, that is.


Oh, I know he led the Argonauts to their victory after he replaced Damon Allen (broken finger, out about six weeks) early in Toronto’s triumph over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their opener. But Wynn’s been around the CFL for a few years and that was easily his best performance.


On Friday night, he has to visit Winnipeg and go up against a team that saw him practice as one of the Blue Bombers’ backups last year.


The Bombers were never impressed by Wynn. They think his skills are limited, which is largely why they traded him to Toronto last winter. Mind you, it was a crummy deal for the Bombers. They sent Wynn to the Argos for safety Mike Crumb, who retired instead of reporting to Winnipeg, and a second-round draft pick that went back to Toronto to allow the Bombers to select Canadian offensive lineman Val St. Germain in the Ottawa Renegades’ dispersal draft.


Wynn asked to be traded because he did not wish to be the Bombers’ fourth-stringer behind Kevin Glenn, Tee Martin and Russ Michna. Martin didn’t report, however, and Michna was so dreadful in exhibition games that he was cut.


• Kicker Damon Duval missed two relatively easy field goals, from 34 and 41 yards, before he and his team, the Montreal Alouettes, came from behind and defeated the Bombers 27-17 in their opener last Friday night.


No matter how rough things get for Duval, however, do not expect him to be cut or traded or discarded.


His new father-in-law, after all, happens to be Larry Smith, the Als’ president.


• So whatever happened to defensive lineman Joe Montford?


In one of the biggest mysteries in the CFL during the exhibition season, the Edmonton Eskimos cut the sackmaster and future Hall of Famer and no CFL club tried to claim him.


Well, word is that the Esks – and club president Hugh Campbell – let it be known that Montford had slowed down considerably in training camp and was no longer worth the six-figure salary he was drawing.


But don’t be surprised if he resurfaces in the CFL later this season. In fact, I’m hearing the Alouettes would dearly like to improve their sub-par pass rush and are strongly entertaining thoughts of giving Montford a look-see within the next few weeks.


• CBC vs. TSN?


No contest. CBC. Yes, even without Brian Williams.


TSN’s graphics are ridiculous. I mean, why does the network cover half your screen with some contest winner DURING a kick return? You can’t see the blocking or the play develop and it’s downright ludicrous. And I find it funny now that TSN is raving about the “journalistic” questions Williams allegedly asks CFLers. It wasn’t that long ago when TSN was caving into CFL demands that the network stops criticizing the league or asking hard-hitting questions.


• Did you happen to catch the news flash last week that the Lions are for sale?


Wow!


Fact is, it's not news, even though Williams and TSN decided to make it appear as though one of TSN's sister companies, The Globe and Mail, had a scoop.


Braley's team has been up for sale since well before the 2005 Vancouver Grey Cup. And it was reported in two national newspapers -- Metro and The National Post -- in November of 2005.


Williams, for one, should know better. He looked bad in his TSN debut the other night when he said he was "stunned" to read in The Globe about Braley's wish to sell.


When it was first reported last year, Lions club president Bob Ackles made attempts to deny that the Lions were for sale. But they are, and have been for too long to be classified as news.


And the man most interested in purchasing the Lions is Dan Orlich, who owns the Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the Northern Baseball League. Orlich and Braley are pals and have been kicking around the idea of doing a deal for more than half a year.


• The Tiger-Cats are owned by Bob Young, a zillionaire and maybe the richest owner in football.


And, yet, Young has decided that he must charge the media $100 for season-long parking passes outside Ivor Wynne Stadium. I have one question for Young: Huh?


• I thought the Tiger-Cats would jump off to a better start than they did last Saturday, when they were beaten in Toronto.


Clearly, they lack discipline. They committed a bunch of stupid penalties, driving head coach Greg Marshallmad.


By the way, those close-ups of Marshall throwing tantrums on the sidelines are priceless. No coach in football anywhere can look as angry as Marshall does.


He’s an excellent coach, though, and I still believe the Ticats will prevail in the CFL’s East this season.


• Overshadowed by the Ticats’ loss Saturday was the brilliant performance of Corey Holmes, who had to shift over from slotback early in the game and replace injured running back Josh Ranek.


With both his running and receiving prowess, Holmes overshadowed his Toronto counterpart, Ricky Williams.


And, incidentally, Holmes donates 10 per cent of his salary to his Baptist church in Mississippi.


Holmes was chosen the top player in the West last season, and CFLers are still scratching their heads in bewilderment as they try to figure out why the Roughriders would trade him to Hamilton.


The Ticats gave up their first choice in the Renegades’ dispersal draft for Holmes. With that choice, the Riders selected quarterback Kerry Joseph.


The Riders also wound up with ex-Renegades Jason Armstead and Cory Hathaway and then signed the Gades’ former offensive co-ordinator, Tommy Condell.


Last week in their opener, the Riders looked just like the Gades used to look – lousy.


• After all the Ricky Williams hype and nonsense, the Argos drew fewer than 27,000 to the Rogers Centre for their opener against Hamilton.


Argos president Keith Pelley said he figured the World Cup soccer games on television reduced the number of would-be spectators for his team’s game.


I have one question for Pelley: Huh?


• In Calgary, the Stampeders are delighted that they were able to embarrass the Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos


24-14 in their opener, but they are concerned that their quarterback, Henry Burris, is starting slowly again.


Indeed, Burris struggled and was fortunate to have sealed a victory when he found receiver Nik Lewis on a wild, third-down bomb for a 33-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.


Lewis wasn’t even the intended receiver on the play. Lewis, by the way, is an exciting and perhaps even underrated player in the CFL, but he’s making plenty of enemies in the league and he’s going to end up with that proverbial bull’s eye on his helmet.


Lewis knocks players routinely about being too old and over the hill. Last week, Edmonton receiver Ed Hervey was the target of Lewis’s derision. As it turned out, Hervey was probably the Esks’ top offensive performer in Calgary.


None of the CFL teams scored fewer points in their openers than the Esks, who committed six turnovers.



Brian Clark, another Winnipeg castoff, was spectacular for the Stamps. The linebacker intercepted a Ricky Ray pass, forced two fumbles and recovered another.


• The Eskimos’ kicking game was a nightmare, too. Rookie punter Rodney Williams had fumble-it is, leading to Calgary scores, while veteran kicker Sean Fleming had trouble connecting with his new holder, Jason Johnson, and even botched a convert.


The Esks obviously missed Jason Maas, not only as their backup quarterback but also as their holder.


Maas, of course, was traded to the Ticats in the CFL’s most significant deal since last season.





Message from Marty York:



After about three decades of covering the CFL in newspapers, magazines, on national television and on radio, the folks who run Metro newspapers have given me the opportunity to report on the league in a new and efficient way -- online, right here at

www.metronews.ca

. Here, I will have the space and freedom to cover the league the way that will best serve you. My reports will be updated at least twice a week and will include information you're not likely to find elsewhere. I will also give you my weekly CFL picks. And I welcome email from CFL fans -- send them to

marty.york@metronews.ca

. I'll publish some from time to time. I'm very excited about this venture, and I hope you will be, too.

 
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