April 11, 2018

Checking Down: Manziel makes spring league debut

The Associated Press

TORONTO — The first spring league game is in the books for Ticats neg list quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The hot topic of the off-season, Manziel took to Austin, Texas to perform in front of both CFL and NFL scouts, drawing mixed reviews from fans and reporters who saw him play.

Manziel was critical of himself, too, but did flash potential despite often facing heavy pressure while also playing his first football game in nearly three years.

What else is happening as April’s midway mark approaches? Let’s take a look in this week’s Checking Down.

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BC | Calgary | Edmonton | Saskatchewan | Winnipeg | Hamilton | Toronto | Ottawa | Montreal


Former NFL star Terrell Owens spoke at the Lions’ Orange Helmet Awards (BCLions.com)

– The BC Lions have signed former Eskimos defensive back Marcell Young, the team announced Wednesday (CFL.ca).

– After three seasons with the Eskimos, Cory Watson can provide a veteran boost to the Lions’ receiving corps (Matt Baker, BCLions.com).

– What did  Terrell Owens have to say at the Lions’ annual Orange Helmet Awards? Jim Morris checked in with the former NFL star (Jim Morris, CFL.ca).


Eskimos 2017 first round pick Nate Behar is looking to make a bigger impact this year (Arthur Ward/CFL.ca)

– After losing three months to injury last season, Esks kicker Sean Whyte says he’ll be 100 per cent for the season (Esks.com).

– With last year’s late arrival in mind, Nate Behar is making up for lost time as he gets ready for his second CFL season (Esks.com).

– Before retiring, John Chick provided a little bit of insight into his off-season regimen as Brodie Lawson visited Jacksonville, Fla. for ‘The Grind’ (CFL.ca).


Injuries played a role in Deron Mayo’s decision to hang up the cleats this week (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

– One of the draft’s top prospects grew up an Eskimos fan, but Mark Korte would gladly shed his green and gold to play for the Stamps (Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press).

– Stamps linebacker Deron Mayo has retired after six CFL seasons. He spent his entire career with Calgary, tallying 277 tackles in 87 games (CFL.ca).

– Former Stamps Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Brett Jones has signed his restricted free agent tender with the New York Giants (3 Down Nation).


Tyler Bieber, pictured left, made a strong imprint both on Canadian amateur sports and the CFL (Kyle Clapham/CFL.ca)

– As the province and country continue to mourn for the Humboldt Broncos, an emotional Eddie Steele talks about his close connection with the SJHL team (Ian Hamilton, Riderville.com).

– For Pat Steinberg, teams like the Humboldt Broncos and Saskatchewan Roughriders are the fabric of the province. He attempts to put the Humboldt tragedy into words (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca).

– The CFL is mourning the loss of young journalist Tyler Bieber, who’s been described as a selfless, genuine person who dedicated much of his time to his community (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).


Investors Group Field will light up in green and yellow to honour the Humboldt Broncos (CFL.ca)

– Investors Group Field will be green and yellow on Thursday, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers honour the Humboldt Broncos (CFL.ca).

– The Bombers have added two receivers to the roster in Jerome Lane and Dominique Reed (BlueBombers.com).

– Andrew Harris is throwing his support behind the Winnipeg Jets, sending a team a message before its opening playoff game Wednesday night (CFL.ca).


There were mixed reviews for Johnny Manziel after making his Spring League debut (The Associated Press)

– All eyes were on Johnny Manziel on Saturday, as the Ticats neg list quarterback played his first football game in 832 days in Austin, Texas (3 Down Nation).

– How are the Ticats reaping the benefit of the C.J. Gable and John Chick trades? Draft picks and a little extra cap space (Drew Edwards, 3 Down Nation).

– While he’ll have to wait at least until the class of 2019, current Ticats executive and former QB Kent Austin will be considered by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee this year (Drew Edwards, 3 Down Nation).


The Argos’ new owner, MLSE, revealed a new direction for the franchise going into 2018 (David Chidley/CFL.ca)

– The Argos have revealed their new direction under MLSE, going back to the team’s roots as a rowing club and also announcing plans for lower ticket prices (Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press).

– How can the Argos benefit from new ownership in MLSE? TSN‘s Dave Naylor analyzes the Monday announcements (Dave Naylor, TSN).

– With Fantasy switching to a point per reception format, Anthony Coombs should be on more rosters in 2018 (CFL.ca).


Back from the NFL, Richie Leone (left) will compete to be the REDBLACKS’ kicker this year (David Chidley/CFL.ca)

– With Brett Maher in the NFL, the REDBLACKS have brought in help at kicker with Richie Leone and Sergio Castillo (CFL.ca).

– 2018 will be Jeff Hunt’s last season as president of the Ottawa REDBLACKS. Hunt played a critical role in the launching of the franchise and its early success (CFL.ca).

– The REDBLACKS have reloaded, but is it enough to contend for a Grey Cup? Davis and James weigh in on The Waggle (CFL.ca).


At a media avail in BC, Terrell Owens talked about the chances of him playing in the CFL (San Francisco 49ers)

– Did Terrell Owens almost come to the CFL? The Pro Football Hall of Famer says he had discussions with Als GM Kavis Reed last year, but they didn’t go anywhere (CFL.ca).

– Als’ receiver B.J. Cunningham made the list of potential Week 1 bargains in CFL Fantasy. The question: Who will be throwing him the football? (CFL.ca).

– While the Als made some big splashes, bringing back guard Philip Blake was a key underrated transaction and one of the off-season’s most under-the-radar moves (CFL.ca).