Running back Joe Smith, who led the CFL in rushing in 2007 and was largely responsible for the B.C. Lions’ domination in the regular season, is close to jumping to the NFL, sources have told Metro.

Among the NFL clubs who have offered contracts to Smith, or are preparing to do so, are the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets, the sources said.

Smith is entering the option year of his CFL contract, which means he has a window until Feb. 15 to join the NFL.


The Lions actually are in jeopardy of losing three key players. Defensive lineman Aaron Hunt has attracted offers from the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills while defensive halfback Korey Banks has received overtures from the Minnesota Vikings.

•Four quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs have been coached by John Hufnagel, new head of the Calgary Stampeders. As an offensive coach in both the NFL and CFL, Hufnagel was a major influence on the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning, the New York Giants’ Eli Manning and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jeff Garcia.

•Conspicuous by his absence from the NHL this season has been 39-year-old Teppo Numminen, who, despite heart disease, managed to appear in more games — 1,314 — than any European player in league history.

After signing a one-year, $2.6-million US contract with the Buffalo Sabres in the summer, the Finnish defenceman was all set for his 19th NHL season when he was stunned during a routine medical checkup at training camp by a diagnosis that he was in dire need of immediate open-heart surgery.

Now, after four months of inactivity, Numminen is nearly ready to rejoin the Sabres.

For his return date, and plenty more on hockey, check out my latest NHL Report, exclusively at

In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.

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