April 4, 2019

Checking Down: Competition in the Argos’ backfield?

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — With seven running backs under contract, James Wilder Jr. welcomes the competition in the Toronto Argonauts backfield.

Kicker Lirim Hajrullaju is back in black and gold.

And what’s next for the Ottawa REDBLACKS after the departure of their offensive coordinator?

The off-season continues and we’ve got all the latest in this week’s Checking Down:

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

BC LIONS

David Mackie (left) celebrates with kicker Ty Long (middle) and quarterback Cody Fajardo (right) (The Canadian Press)

– 2018 draft pick Davis Mackie isn’t a thump his chest or ‘I told you so’ type of guy. The fullback is humble and ready for year two with the BC Lions (Matt Baker/BCLions.com).

EDMONTON ESKIMOS

Fred Stamps wanted to finish his football career officially with the Edmonton Eskimos (CFL.ca)

– Four-time CFL All-Star Fred Stamps signed a one-day contract with Edmonton to officially retire from professional football as a member of the Eskimos (CFL.ca).

– Fred Stamps believes in the Green and Gold’s long-serving motto: ‘Once an Eskimo, Always an Eskimo.’ That’s one of the reasons why he wanted to retire an Esk (Esks.com).

– Esks defensive end Kwaku Boateng was a mentor for his former teammate, Robbie Smith, who attended the CFL Combine presented by New Era this year (Kristina Costabile, CFL.ca)

CALGARY STAMPEDERS

Don Jackson enjoyed a stellar rookie season in 2018 that ended with a Grey Cup victory (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– Don Jackson has found a home in Calgary after an impressive rookie season. He’s solidified his place in the Stampeders backfield and has become difficult for defences across the league to contain (Stampeders.com).

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

There will be a new voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2019 (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– TSN’s Derek Taylor will be the new play-by-play voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Rob Vanstone, Regina Leader-Post). 

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Thomas Miles continued his off-season community work this week (The Canadian Press)

– Thomas Miles and John Rush were invited by the RCMP to travel to and tour the community of Norway House. The players shared the Break the Silence on Violence against Women and Bombers Tackle Bullying presentations with multiple classes at the HBO School (BlueBombers.com).

– The Bombers have added to their receiving corps, signing international pass-catcher Dennis Parks (Blue Bombers.com).

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

Lirim Hajrullahu is back in black and gold, re-signing with the Ticats (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– After finding out that the AAF had ceased operations, Ticats football operations consultant Jim Barker said it was a ‘crazy day’ for football executives across the league (Chris O’Leary/CFL.ca).

– Six weeks after he hit the free agent market, national kicker Lirim Hajrullahu has re-signed with the Tiger-Cats (CFL.ca).

– Re-signing with the Ticats was about more than football for Lirim Hajrullahu. It was about the community in Hamilton. (Ticats.ca).

TORONTO ARGONAUTS

James Wilder Jr. is welcoming any competition for the starting role in the Argonauts backfield (The Canadian Press)

– The Toronto Argonauts hold the first overall pick in this year’s CFL Draft but what are they going to do with it? CFL Draft guru Marshall Ferguson has his second mock draft of the year (Marshall Ferguson/CFL.ca).

– Tyrell Sutton, Chris Rainey, and Mercer Timmis are just a few of the seven running backs that will enter Argos camp next month. The incumbent starter, James Wilder Jr., welcomes the competition (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– World Wilder Entertainment? James Wilder Jr. got an invitation from the WWE for a tryout in Florida next month. Will he be the next WWE star? (Chris O’Leary/CFL.ca).

– The Toronto Argonauts will play in the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic in Moncton on August 25 against the Montreal Alouettes (CFL.ca).

OTTAWA REDBLACKS

All the chatter in Ottawa this week has been about Jaime Elizondo’s departure (Dave Chidley/CFL.ca)

– Jaime Elizondo has stepped down as the Ottawa REDBLACKS offensive coordinator to pursue other opportunities (CFL.ca).

– With the news that former offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo suddenly left the REDBLACKS for a role south of the border, DJ and Davis debate the timing and etiquette of the move (The Waggle/CFL.ca).

– With just six weeks until the season begins, the Ottawa REDBLACKS are left scrambling to find a replacement offensive coordinator (Chris O’Leary/CFL.ca).

– With Jaime Elizondo’s departure, there is a hole left on the REDBLACKS coaching staff. Who will be the next offensive coordinator? Henry Burris? Ricky Ray? CFL.ca’s senior writer Chris O’Leary gives a few outside-the-box suggestions (Chris O’Leary/CFL.ca).

MONTREAL ALOUETTES

The Als and Argos will battle in the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic in August (Peter McCabe/CFL.ca)

– The Montreal Alouettes will play in the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic in Moncton on August 25 against the Toronto Argonauts (CFL.ca).