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December 11, 2019

Checking Down: News and notes from the off-season

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — We’re just a few weeks into the CFL off-season and there’s plenty to talk about already.

Paul LaPolice has taken over as the Ottawa REDBLACKS head coach.

Jason Maas joins Rider Nation as Saskatchewan’s offensive coordinator.

Plus, teams across the league are already starting to lock up some of their pending free agents.

The latest news and notes from the off-season in this week’s Checking Down:

Jump to team:

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

BC LIONS

Ed Hervey and the Lions have made a few roster moves this week (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– The BC Lions signed two American linebackers, Bailey Laolagi and Brandon Payer, to 2020 contracts on Tuesday (BCLions.com).

EDMONTON ESKIMOS

Brock Sunderland and the Eskimos are still on the hunt for a head coach (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– According to a report from 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk, the Eskimos have interviewed Kevin Guy, head coach of the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League, for their head coach vacancy (TSN.ca).

CALGARY STAMPEDERS

Ante Milanovic-Litre will remain with the Stampeders after signing a contract extension this week (Arthur Ward/CFL.ca)

– The Calgary Stampeders have signed national running back Ante Milanovic-Litre to a contract extension, the team announced on Monday (CFL.ca).

– Defensive back Jamar Wall was also signed to a contract extension earlier this week (CFL.ca).

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

 

– The Saskatchewan Roughriders have named Jason Maas as the team’s offensive coordinator and have extended defensive coordinator Jason Shivers (CFL.ca).

– After being announced as the Riders offensive coordinator, Jason Maas says he’s excited to jump right in and prepare for the 2020 campaign (CFL.ca).

– According to CFL.ca’s Jamie Nye, the Roughriders are now equipped with a solid coaching trio in Craig Dickenson, Jason Maas and Jason Shivers (CFL.ca).

– In roster news, the Riders extended two player including Canadian receiver Mitchell Picton (CFL.ca).

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Will Zach Collaros“>Zach Collaros be under centre for the Bombers next season? (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed offensive lineman Pat Neufeld to a one-year contract extension (CFL.ca).

– Neufeld says there’s no other place he’d rather play than Winnipeg and had no desire to wait until free agency to see what else might be out there (Ed Tait, BlueBombers.com).

– In other roster news, Winnipeg also inked defensive back Mercy Maston to a contract extension (CFL.ca). 

– The Bombers released defensive lineman Jonathan Kongbo to pursue an opportunity in the NFL (CFL.ca).

– According to Zach Collaros himself, the door is wide open for the quarterback to return to the Bombers next season (Paul Friesen, Winnipeg Sun).

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

Co-managers Shawn Burke and Drew Allemang will be starting to look at their roster, and their free agents, as the off-season continues (Ticats.ca)

– Stability and constancy in the Tiger-Cats front office is important as the off-season continues for Hamilton (Steve Milton, The Hamilton Spectator).

TORONTO ARGONAUTS

Ryan Dinwiddie has reportedly interviewed with the Argos for the head coach position (Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca)

– After a flurry of coaching activity early December and there’s plenty yet to come. CFL.ca’s MMQB writes on some of the top coaching storylines including the Toronto Argonauts (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca). 

– On the latest episode of The Waggle presented by SportClips, TSN’s Dave Naylor breaks down what could be in the future for the Toronto Argonauts’ coaching staff (CFL.ca).

– According to a report from TSN’s Farhan Lalji, Jacques Chapdelaine will not return as the Toronto Argonauts’ offensive coordinator in 2020 (CFL.ca).

– The Argos have interviewed Calgary Stampeders QB coach Ryan Dinwiddie, according to a report from TSN’s Farhan Lalji (CFL.ca)

– In roster news, Toronto has extended American defensive tackle Jhaustin Thomas and Canadian long snapper Joe Spaziani and has signed American QB/receiver Joel Blumenthal (Argonauts.ca).

OTTAWA REDBLACKS

 

– The REDBLACKS officially named Paul LaPolice the team’s new head coach on Monday (CFL.ca).

– With a new head coach and plenty of roster flexibility, the Ottawa REDBLACKS have effectively hit the reset button following a three-win season (CFL.ca).

– Paul LaPolice is excited to help Ottawa rebound after a rocky 2019 season that saw them miss the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history (CFL.ca).

– LaPolice sat down for his first interview as the REDBLACKS new head coach and talks about his plans to help Ottawa in 2020 (CFL.ca).

– In what seems like a distant memory, the Ottawa REDBLACKS’ 2-0 start to the season in 2019 reminds us nothing is given in the CFL (Matthew Cauz, CFL.ca).

MONTREAL ALOUETTES

Will Jim Popp make a return to the Alouettes? (Graham Hughes/CFL.ca)

– According to a report from Montreal Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky, Hamilton’s senior director of personnel and co-manager of football operations Shawn Burke has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Alouettes’ general manager position (TSN.ca).

– Jim Popp has told the Montreal Gazette that he would be interested in returning to the Alouettes as the team’s GM (Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette).