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October 13, 2006

League looks at rule reverse for Dickenson

By Mike Beamish,
Vancouver Sun

Although he has a reputation for offensive creativity, the record book reverse isn’t an innovation currently in Dave Dickenson’s playbook.

Nonetheless, CFL officials are hoping to make a rule change that retroactively would grant Dickenson a North American pro football record for passing percentage.

The Lions quarterback completed an astounding 73.98 per cent of his passes in the 2005 season, good enough to eclipse the pro football record of 70.66 set by Cincinnati’s Ken Anderson in the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season. According to CFL criteria, however, Dickenson needed a minimum 360 throws — based on an average of 20 attempts over an 18-game schedule — to qualify his percentage as a record. He fell 18 attempts short because a concussion kept him out of the lineup for four games.

Shawn Coates, director of football operations for the CFL, said a presentation is being made to the league’s rules committee to standardize all passing records with the same minimum requirements. Currently, passing records under different categories vary from a minimum of 250 attempts to 360.

“We want to create a level playing field across all categories. We have some inconsistencies,” says Coates, who adds that passing records must wait to be standardized by the rules committee when it meets at the CFL Congress next February in Montreal.

Meanwhile, the veteran quarterback returned to the practice field Thursday, limiting his participation and working on his own while he seeks to shake the effects of post-concussion syndrome. Dickenson won’t be at Sunday’s game in Calgary.

“They’ve advised me to pull back a little bit,” he said.

Asked if he expects to play again this season, Dickenson said, “As long as I’m symptom-free. But if I’m not symptom-free, I’m not playing. I think I will. I’m not at the point yet where I can even watch film.”