Barker laments losing players to Ottawa | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
Barker: 'They Got 3 Good Players From Us'
Adam Gagnon


TORONTO -- A good day for the Ottawa Redblacks and the CFL, but a painful one for the other eight teams.

"There's no doubt," Toronto Argonaut GM Jim Barker said after Monday's expansion draft. "Everybody in the league lost players they didn't necessarily want to lose.

"It's not a fun deal. You spend time and you develop (talent) but for the league it's a great exciting time. And I thought (GM) Marcel (Desjardins) and (coach) Rick (Campbell) and those guys did a fantastic job in piecing together their picks."

The Argos lost Canadian offensive lineman Joe Eppele and linebacker Jason Pottinger and import defensive end Jonathan Williams to the Redblacks.

Barker tried to prepare his squad for the coming changes.

"I sent all the players a letter over the weekend. Our team we knew was never going to be the same, but this (draft) is different. It doesn't happen very often."

The Argos lost an offensive line starter in Eppele and a former starter and important special teams contributor in Pottinger. Williams, described by Barker as an up-and-comer, saw action on and off as a backup.

"We have ideas of what we want to do but it obviously changes things that you might have done," Barker said of the losses. "That's the process we're in now — trying to recover and fill holes."

The Argos hope McMaster offensive lineman Matt Sewell, a first round pick in the 2013 draft who spent some time in camp with the Tennessee Titans, might be able to help their cause.

A longer shot is linebacker Cory Greenwood, a Concordia product taken third overall by Toronto in the 2010 draft who is currently on the Detroit Lions' injured reserve list.

The six-foot-eight, 301-pound Eppele appeared in all 18 games last season.

"We just had too many guys," Barker said of his Canadian offensive line talent. "We just couldn't protect all of them."

Eppele is due to undergo shoulder surgery next week, a fact that was disclosed to Ottawa.

"Joe's a good enough player, they felt it was OK to take that risk," Barker said.

Pottinger played three seasons in B.C. before joining Toronto in 2009. The six-foot-two 238 pounder, who lost his starting job to Robert McCune, had 13 tackles and 14 special teams tackles in 2013.

Barker said Pottinger's loss will be felt on and off the field.

"He's everything a CFL player is all about," said Barker. "He's been as instrumental in turning this organization around as anybody in it. I'm so indebted to him for what he's done since he came here."

Williams, 6-2 and 282 pounds, was a B.C. Lion in 2009 before joining the Argos in 2013. In between he played for the Spokane Shock of the Arena Football League.

Williams had tackles and two quarterback sacks in 12 games with the Argos.

Fan Comments
Absolutely NONE of the GMs are going to be happy with losing players, regardless of how big an impact some of those players may have had on their respective teams in 2013. They have all spent time searching for and building their talent and depth but also realize the importance of the process to help Ottawa become competitive sooner rather than later.
December 17, 2013 - 7:51pm
Can't believe these GMs bemoaning all the players they lost. Maybe I'm wrong but if you look at the Ottawa list, I don't see where they really ended up with much from this draft, other than the QB position. The Redbacks still have a LONG way to go to field a competitive team next season!!
December 17, 2013 - 6:32pm
Barker needs to stop crying in his beer. He is not the only GM to lose players, and it can be argued that the Argonauts were one of the lucky ones.
December 17, 2013 - 5:09pm
small town argo
Yes, how dare he answer the questions he was asked. The nerve of that guy eh? Give it a rest.
December 17, 2013 - 4:53pm
als rule
@STA: barker give it a rest!! it's only 3 players!! your change over from year to year is at least 3 to 4 times that so why the complaining?!!
December 17, 2013 - 10:24pm
small town argo
He was asked a question, he answered the question. Hardly complaining. If Barker went out of his way to say something, then yes he would be complaining. But the real people complaining would be the people on here going "Barker needs to stop crying" or "why are all the GM's upset". What do you expect the GM's to say? "Thank god we lost that guy, we never wanted him anyway".
December 18, 2013 - 8:42am