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MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes are not a team accustomed to big change, but the 2013 off-season was one that forced them to undergo some massive identity restructuring.
As is usually the case when change is in the air, the movement first started at the top in Montreal, as Mark Weightman was introduced as the team’s new President and CEO.
Still without a full-time head coach, Popp and the team’s front office turned their attention towards the 2013 Expansion Draft, where they bidded adieu to Moton Hopkins, Patrick Lavoie and Jordan Verdone.
Shortly after the historic Draft, the Als received a significant blow to their offensive line, as guard Andrewe Woodruff announced his retirement.
Despite the loss of Woodruff, Montreal did keep one key part of their offensive line in the fold, as they handed centre Luc Brodeur-Jourdain an extension.
Popp then solidified some veteran know-how to their secondary, by offering cornerback Billy Parker an extension as well.
As the month drew to a close, Popp prepared for the invevitable retirement of Anthony Calvillo, and signed quarterbacks Troy Smith and Tanner Marsh to new deals.
Finally Alan-Michael Cash signed a three year deal, keeping him from hitting the free agency.
The new year brought forth the end of an era in Montreal, as legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo announced his retirement after two decades in the CFL.
Prior to Calvillo’s retirement, the Als brought a familiar face back into the fold, as they signed free agent receiver Dave Stala.
The month also saw the team extend new contracts to Daryl Townsend and Michael Carter, as well as linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouliette.
They also released DB Byron Parker, and signed Kenny Stafford and Dan Matha.
Other January Transactions
Sign Ed Gainey, DB
Prior to the start of free agency, the Als kept a few of their key assets off the market by re-signing Kyries Hebert, Martin Bedard, and Sean Whyte.
On day one of free agency, they managed to reach an agreement with offensive lineman Josh Bourke.
It wasn’t all additions on day one of free agency, however, as the Alouettes would lost non-import linebacker Shea Emry, who chose to test the market and sign with Argonauts.
The biggest news of the month, however, was the announcement that Tom Higgins had been hired as the team’s new head coach.
Popp also addressed the team’s return game, as they acquired Larry Taylor in a trade with the Stampeders.
Other February Transactions
Sign Jermaine McElveen, DESign Laron Scott, DB Released Arland Burce, SB
With mini-camps and training camp fast approaching, new head coach Tom Higgins announced his coaching staff.
The staff would be highlighted by new offensive coordinator Rick Worman and former member of the Alouettes Anwar Stewart who was named Defensive Quality Control Coach.
In an attempt to give Marsh and Smith as many weapons as they can, the Alouettes invited former NFL receiver Chad Johnson to their mini-camp in Flrodai.
After a few workouts they signed the 6-time pro bowler, bringing him back to football after nearly two years away from the game.
The Als kicked off May with Scott Flory announcing his retirement from the CFL after a lengthy career.
Below is a look at Montreal’s work during the 2014 CFL Draft.