Mark Cohon, in his first year as captain of the CFL’s ship, is discovering the hard way that smooth sailing is entirely out of the question.
The waters are always choppy for this league. Always. A shipwreck is perpetually oh-so-close.
Cohon cruised along at the season’s outset, when he cheerfully announced the selections of two players from each club for his new marketing campaigns. What the commissioner has since learned, however, is that the CFL is a transient league, where players can be sidelined, traded or cut in a heartbeat. It’s not exactly easy to market players like this.
Corey Holmes is the latest example. He was one of the two Hamilton players hand-picked by Cohon for the aforementioned marketing plans. Problem is, Holmes was traded by the Tiger-Cats on the weekend.
And then there was the television fiasco Saturday night. Cohon expressed dismay, regret and concerns Sunday that CBC didn’t bother to resume its telecast of the Saskatchewan-Edmonton game, which was delayed by a storm and power outage for 20 minutes. The Eskimos were ahead 32-27 when play was temporarily halted. The Roughriders prevailed in the dying minutes, 39-32. Live coverage wasn’t provided.
CBC apologized, but the truth is that it couldn’t give a hoot about the CFL. This is the final year for the CFL on the network, after all, and CBC isn’t interested in devoting any undue energy, time or money to the league.
Now Cohon is about to learn another lesson. Charles Rogers, a former first-round draft choice in the NFL, is eyeing the CFL. His agent claims three CFL clubs covet the receiver. Thing is, Rogers has been repeatedly suspended by the NFL for substance abuse. And, sheesh, wasn’t it only 2006 when the CFL voted to stop being a haven for NFL problem children, as it was for Ricky Williams? How hypocritical would the CFL look with Rogers in it? And will Cohon risk a lawsuit from Rogers if he puts the kibosh on his recruitment.
Yes, Mark, this is the real CFL — the Crisis Football League. Good luck. Oh, and ahoy!
• Look for the Argonauts to release running back John Avery soon. He won’t be alone.
The CFL’s deadline for cutting veterans (six-seasons-plus) before being committed to an entire year’s salary is nine games into the season. This is Week 9.
• In the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets are negotiating with veteran free agent Michael Peca. And three talented defencemen are being mentioned in blockbuster-trade possibilities — the Calgary Flames’ Rhett Warrener, the Vancouver Canucks’ Mattias Ohlund and the Los Angeles Kings’ Lubomir Visnovsky.