July 24, 2006

CFL plans to review lineman’s hit on Wynn

By Sean Fitz-Gerald,
National Post

Canadian Football League officials are planning to review a helmet-to-helmet hit that sent Toronto Argonauts quarterback Spergon Wynn to a Regina hospital in an ambulance midway through Saturday night’s game.

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman Scott Schultz levelled Wynn on the final play of the first half at Mosaic Stadium, an impact so fierce it sent the quarterback’s helmet flying. Wynn was on the turf for about 20 minutes and was still receiving medical attention as the halftime show unfolded around him.

X-rays taken on the 27-year-old’s neck came back negative. He returned to the locker room before the end of the game, a 26-23 Toronto win, and is expected to be on the practice field when the Argos return to work today.

“We’ll certainly have a critical look at it [today], and then make decisions based on our viewing of the tape,” George Black, the CFL’s director of officiating, said yesterday.

“We’ll probably also wait to get game film. It will come into the office by Tuesday. So once we get the game film, we can compare the TV tape to the game film and then make a decision as to whether supplementary discipline is warranted.”

Black said a decision should arrive early in the week.

Schultz apologized to Argos coach Michael Clemons after the game, explaining he was not a dirty player and that the high hit was unintentional.

“He didn’t go low, but we can’t allow him to go high, either,” Black said.

“We have to protect quarterbacks. These guys are the marquee players in our game and, in addition to that, they’re most often in a defenseless position when they’re releasing the football.”

Doug Flutie, who led the Argos to back-to-back Grey Cups in 1996 and 1997, was on the verge of a return to Toronto earlier this season.

Darren Flutie, now a CFL analyst for CBC, confirmed during the broadcast of the Toronto-Saskatchewan game that the Argos had been in contact with his brother, and that the six-time winner of the league’s outstanding player award had a ticket to fly north before he changed his mind.

Discussions began after starting quarterback Damon Allen broke a finger in Toronto’s season-opening win over Hamilton and intensified after Wynn lost his third straight start two weeks ago.

Flutie, 43, could have joined the Argos in time for last Sunday’s practice.

On Saturday, Miles Gorrell, the team’s player personnel assistant, told the National Post’s Scott Taylor there was still a chance Flutie would land in Toronto as early as today, in light of Wynn’s injury.

Clemons didn’t seem to share that optimism.

“It made sense on a lot of fronts,” he said yesterday. “But there were some other challenges with commitments and scheduling things that [Flutie] had made.”