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TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts have relieved Jim Popp of his duties as general manager, the team confirmed Tuesday morning.
Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons has been named the 20th general manager in franchise history, with John Murphy as vice president of player personnel.
TSN’s Dave Naylor initially broke the news in a tweet Tuesday morning, three days after the team’s 55-8 loss to the BC Lions in Vancouver.
The moves arrive in the midst of a forgettable season for the Argos, in which they’ve struggled to a CFL-worst 2-12 record with a point differential of minus 220.
Popp, 58, was hired to be the Argos’ general manager in February of 2017. He hired Head Coach Marc Trestman and the two immediately delivered on expectations, guiding the Argos to a Grey Cup Championship over the Calgary Stampeders following a 9-9 regular season.
Since then, however, Toronto has struggled, winning just six of its last 32 games. The Argos finished last in the CFL in 2018 with a 4-14 record and parted ways with Trestman right after the season, hiring Corey Chamblin to be the head coach for 2019.
After honouring retired quarterback Ricky Ray, things haven’t gone according to plan for the Argos this year, who started the season with their worst loss in franchise history, 64-14 at the hands of their biggest rival, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Argos would go on to lose their first six games of the season before pulling off a dramatic comeback win over Winnipeg in Week 8.
Saturday marked another low point in the season for the Boatmen, who trailed 34-0 at halftime and managed just nine first downs and 143 yards in the entire game in a loss to BC.
The Argos currently rank last in the CFL in several major defensive categories, including average points (34.6), average net offence (433.2) and total first downs (338). Their offence has also lagged with James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson at quarterback, ranking eighth in both points per game (18.9) and yards per game (336.4).
Popp came to the Argos with a successful resume as a CFL executive, having won three Grey Cups as general manager of the Montreal Alouettes from 1996 to 2016. He also won a championship with the Baltimore Stallions as the team’s general manager in 1995.
He leaves Toronto with a 269-203-1 career regular season record and a 27-17 playoff record to go with five Grey Cup Championships and 11 Grey Cup appearances.