03-01-2017, 12:47 PM
03-03-2017, 11:52 PM
Below is an interview with former Argo Trevor Harris.
Harris said being a father for the first time has been an amazing experience that has helped him focus as a football player.
“I was thinking about it a couple of days ago,” he said. “My drive for football hasn’t changed at all, just added a priority.
“My dad told me one time, when you have kids you don’t have to make room in your heart, your heart grows. It’s kind of crazy. I thought maybe football would mean less to me. It doesn’t. My heart has grown to make room for this guy.” ...
The retirement of Henry Burris means Harris comes to training camp as the No. 1 quarterback. As a Toronto Argonaut, Harris demonstrated he has the tools to be a starter. Knowing the job is his for the taking won’t change his off-season preparation.
“The plan all along was I was going to be the guy in 2017,” said Harris. “It’s one of those things I was going to be fired up about.
“I want to be able to pounce on my opportunity. I don’t treat anything different. I treat practice as I would the Grey Cup.” ...
“It’s always a championship or bust for me,” he said. “If we don’t win a Grey Cup, I don’t look at it as a fully successful season.”
“I feel like we have the money in our pockets to deliver what we want to go get,” he said. “We just have to go out and execute and make sure we are getting the best we can out of everybody.
“We need to get everybody going in the same direction and make sure I’m being the best I can possibly be.”
Harris is taking over on offence with a different look than last year’s team. The REDBLACKS led the East in 2016 with an 8-9-1 record then upset Calgary 39-33 in overtime to win Ottawa’s first Grey Cup in 40 years.
Wide receivers Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams, who between them had 2,471 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns, both left in free agency. Jackson signed in Montreal and Williams in B.C.
“It leaves a massive void,” said Harris. “Those shoes are some big ones to fill.
“It will be exciting to see how guys fill those shoes and how the team takes on the different personalities and talents.” ....
To fill the vacancies, the REDBLACKS signed a pair of Toronto receivers in Kenny Shaw and Diontae Spencer.
Spencer had a career-high 706 receiving yards on 71 catches and three touchdowns in 12 games last year. He also returned 33 punts for 341 yards. Shaw made 77 catches for 1,004 yards and five touchdowns.
Harris likes both signings. He was a teammate with Spencer in Toronto and has worked out with Shaw in the off-season.
“We have brought in some good guys,” he said. “I have always respected Kenny Shaw as a route runner. It will be fun to see how he can add another dimension.”
Not having Burris, Williams and Jackson will change the complexion of the REDBLACKS.
“Those are some big personalities,” said Harris. “Those are some guys that really influenced the team, pumped some confidence into the team with veteran leadership.
“At the same time, we are going to take on a different personality as a team. That’s exciting. That’s what’s so fun about pro football, the challenges are new every day. Once you get those challenges, you hit adversity, you start to really find out what your team is about. Every team in the league is going to hit adversity as some point. It’s really fun to see the character you have on the team.” ...
Harris also accepts the increased leadership duties that will fall on him. As a backup, he felt limited in what he could say.
“Sometimes there should be only one true leadership voice,” he said. “When you are a backup quarterback it’s kind of hard to get up in front of the team and scream and yell when you’re not playing.”
03-04-2017, 12:40 AM
The RedBlacks have signed International DB Javier Arenas who has had considerable playing time in the NFL between 2010 and 2014.
03-04-2017, 11:44 PM
Jon Gott discusses what it was like to win the Grey Cup and the pressure existing now to repeat.
03-05-2017, 02:40 PM
Here's an interview with RedBlack Forrest Hightower about playing for Ottawa and winning the Grey Cup.
03-09-2017, 11:51 PM
03-11-2017, 03:12 PM
Ottawa has signed International DB Al Louis-Jean.
The 6-1, 187-pound Louis-Jean recorded nine tackles in nine games with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears during the 2014 season. He had subsequent stints in camp with Washington and Miami in 2015-16.
Now 23, Louis-Jean previously played U.S. college football for two seasons with Boston College.
Last edited by jerrym; 03-17-2017 at 03:57 PM.
03-17-2017, 03:55 PM
Moton Hopkins has been an asset for the Redblacks off the field as well as on.
With a smile that can light up a room, Moton Hopkins for the past three seasons has been a terrific ambassador for the Ottawa Redblacks. A team-first guy, he’s also the sort of presence you need in a locker room. For what he does in the community, for how he treats RNation, he’s become a fan favourite. And he’s also a pretty good football player. ...
“He’s a good football player, he’s a quality person, he’s a great leader and he embodies everything we want in a Redblack,” said general manager Marcel Desjardins.
“There was a point where the team was saying it wasn’t sure which direction it wanted to go,” said Hopkins. “So I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, whether there would still be an option to come back. I’m happy it ended up working out.”
Along the way, the fan base let its feelings be known with plenty of support on social media.
“For me, that was huge,” said Hopkins, who is spending his first winter in Ottawa. “There’s nothing like being wanted, especially by the fan base and the community. That helped me get through the process, having people say, ‘Hey Moton, we want you back, we appreciate you,’ then tweeting the team and telling them to bring me back.”
What he does in the community is important to Hopkins. “I’ve always taken the stance that if I can talk to somebody, smile, take a photo with them, make their day better, then I should do it,” he said. “I like talking to kids, help them understand that they should stay active.”
Hopkins played in 11 regular-season games in 2016. In 35 games over three seasons, he has 50 tackles, eight sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. Before landing in Ottawa, Hopkins, a six-year CFL veteran, also played in Winnipeg and Montreal. Finishing his MBA online last month is a step toward looking at his future.
“I just don’t know which direction I want to go in — whether it be football or business,” he said. “I’m trying to find a way to blend the two. I’m definitely at the age where I have to consider what’s next. “It will be tough moving on. You get locked into it, you get used to that football lifestyle and the mentality of being an athlete so, yes, it is a bit nerve wracking to know that’s going to change.”
Soon enough it will be time to get back out on a football field, something Hopkins is looking forward to. “You start to get that edge,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for so long, my body’s almost on a clock now. You start to think, ‘OK, it’s time to get back out there, hit and run around. It’s crazy how quick the off-season has already gone.” ...
“We’re basically maxed out, our roster is full,” said Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins on Thursday. “It doesn’t mean we can’t cut guys to add guys, but I don’t anticipate that to be the case too often. I’m not saying it won’t happen.”
03-21-2017, 10:25 PM
03-23-2017, 07:51 PM
Although Trevor Harris's contract ends following the 2017 season, he says he plans to stay in Ottawa.
03-25-2017, 02:23 PM
Greg Ellingson talks about what winning the Grey Cup means to him and to the long suffering Ottawa fans.
Ellingson is coming off a big year with the Redblacks, catching 76 passes for 1,260 yards. It was his second straight season with more than 1,000 yards in receptions. Bigger to him is the Grey Cup which his team won 39-33 over Calgary. Ellingson felt and absorbed the love from RNation in the aftermath.
“Those fans had waited 40 years and they finally got a championship,” said Ellingson. “It’s satisfying for me, doing something I love and while I’m doing that, being able to bring joy to others.
“I’ll always remember people grabbing my hand and holding it and saying, ‘You don’t how happy we are that we finally have a championship, we’re so proud of you guys.’
04-01-2017, 04:37 PM
Warren Moon says he is not at all surprised by Rick Campbell's success with the Redblacks.
“Rick was a young kid when I was in Edmonton. I don’t even think Rick was in high school yet,” Moon recalled on Thursday evening after his appearance at Mark’s CFL Week with fellow quarterbacks Anthony Calvillo and Mike Reilly.
Rick Campbell was eight-years old when he first met Moon, who of course was playing for Rick’s dad, Eskimos’ coach Hugh Campbell. The Campbell family left Edmonton in 1983 when Hugh pursued a USFL opportunity, then reunited with Moon in Houston with the Oilers, where Hugh was the head coach for the 1984 and 1985 seasons.
“He was always around practice, he was almost like a gym rat,” Moon said of Rick Campbell. “It didn’t surprise me that he got into coaching, following his dad’s footsteps. ...
“I followed his career when he got into coaching and all the different moves he made. Me and Hugh Campbell are still close and we always talk about what our families are doing. He always kept me up to speed on what Rick was doing, on what Molly (who works for the Calgary Stampeders) was doing and just about everybody in his family. It’s great that he’s having that type of success and it doesn’t surprise me because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Now 44, Rick Campbell is heading into his 17th year of coaching in the CFL, his fourth as the head coach of the Ottawa REDBLACKS. ...
“What a great accomplishment, not only for Rick being in his first Grey Cup, but for Henry too, being in his last game. What a way to leave the CFL and leave your career, winning the Grey Cup and being the MVP.
“I was happy for him because I’d known Henry a long time. I went to some of his camps in the summer that he had for kids in Calgary. He’s moved around to a lot of different places, but to end your career like that, that’s the way you want to walk off. You want to walk off as a champion and walk off healthy.”
04-08-2017, 07:52 PM
GM Marcel Desjardins discusses the importance of hosting the 2017 Grey Cup to the Redblacks.
The clock struck midnight, the Cinderella ending came to fruition. For the Ottawa REDBLACKS and their fans, it all became real: They were Grey Cup Champions.
Yet somewhere in the locker-room beneath BMO Field, in the mist of the champagne in the midst of celebration, away from all the microphones, before the confetti could be cleared, Marcel Desjardins wondered ‘how can we do this again?’
“That quickly,” Desjardins nodded to a small scrum of reporters during CFL Week in Regina nearly four months later. “In our locker-room in Toronto after the game, the expectation was we need to be there for the next one.” ....
Even with unlikely script that saw Ottawa’s football franchise capture a Grey Cup in just its third season, the pressure to play in the 105th Grey Cup — on home turf, in the year of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations — is on.
“I know there certainly is [pressure] from our ownership,” said Desjardins. “But that’s all good. Our expectation, our goal is to be there every year. Will that happen? Not necessarily but that’s something we’re striving for this year.
“With it being in Ottawa, it’s obviously very important that we have a chance to get to that game.”
The last team to play in three straight Grey Cups was the Montreal Alouettes from 2008 through 2010. Desjardins was there. That same Alouettes club was the last one to win back-to-back, with championships in 2009 and 2010.
Oftentimes, Grey Cup-winning teams become the victim of their own success. While Grey Cup MVP Henry Burris retired, Ernest Jackson, Chris Williams, J’Michael Deane, Abdul Kanneh, Mitchell White and Forrest Hightower left the team via free agency. A large part of a championship core.
Continuity is one of professional sports’ greatest pillars of success. Sometimes it’s just not achievable.
“The fact that we had to move on from a few players was unfortunate because we do want to have as much continuity as we can,” said Desjardins. “That, to me, was the biggest thing: the lack of continuity within your locker-room and for your fans to identify with.”
04-08-2017, 07:56 PM
The Redblacks have signed 6'3", 256 lb DL Steven Miller.
04-08-2017, 08:00 PM
Ottawa has released National DB Keldyn Ahlstedt and signed International DB Sherrod Baltimore.
04-09-2017, 02:31 PM
Here's video of DB Sherrod Baltimore in action with the University of Maine.
04-12-2017, 11:34 PM
Henry Burris has started his post-football career as TV co-host with CTV Morning.
“When it comes to football, I’m not missing it right now,” Burris said. “I’m sure I’ll start to get the itch a bit when training camp comes. That first regular-season game, when we play Calgary, when the team busts out of the helmet, when the fireworks are going off and the crowd’s going crazy, I’m pretty sure it’s going to hit me and that will be tough for me.
“But I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy with the decision I made and I’m proud of everything I was able to achieve during my years in football. I’m at peace. I know I’ll still feel, ‘Hey, that’s my team out there, I wish I could be out there.’
“If I came back for another season, I could be the best player (in the CFL), hands down. But I don’t think I have to prove that. I was part of a team that was nothing (2-16 in their inaugural 2014 season), and we became Grey Cup champions.”
Burris is learning on the job, working with the likes of Lianne Laing, Melissa Lamb and Stefan Keyes at CTV Morning Live.
“They always have my back,” Burris said. “They’ll pull me aside and say, ‘Hope you don’t mind me telling you this. Let’s try this next time.’
“Sometimes it can get all helter-skelter with a sudden change of things just before the camera goes on. I had to deal with improvisation when it came to calling plays based on pressure. Playing in the world of football has prepared me for the pressures and the stress you have to deal with. That’s allowed me not to get caught up in the moment and make things bigger than they are.
“I’m creating a playbook for myself. I’m watching film, I’m watching other shows, other broadcasts. I’m figuring out how they do certain things.”
04-17-2017, 07:34 PM
Below is a video interview with former Argo QB Trevor Harris about his offseason, including his training methods.
04-20-2017, 12:34 AM
The Redblacks appear to have a hate on for every other CFL team according to this article.
Here's their reasons hating for the Argos (I thought it would be a love affair, considering all the quality players the Argos have sent to Ottawa).
– Sharing a city with the Leafs, a truly unforgivable crime
– Overcoming the loss of their starting AND backup QB (both lost to hellacious hits) to win the 1990 East Semi-Final with their 3rd stringer
– Winning the 2004 Grey Cup in Ottawa with Damon Allen at the helm, a big FU to every Southsider who ever hollered “HOBART!”
– Screwing up the 2016 Grey Cup pricing
– Waiting two months to fire GM Jim Barker and then choosing to do it on the same day Henry Burris has his retirement press conference
Verdict: 2.5 Little Balls of Hate
04-20-2017, 10:06 PM
Ottawa will hold its mini camp from April 27-29 and feature former Argos Spencer, Jefferson and Shaw, who were signed as free agents. Are the Argos Ottawa's farm team? 😜
While the camp roster will feature primarily REDBLACKS rookies, a handful of veteran players preparing for their first season in Ottawa will also be in the mix. Off-season free agent signings like receivers Kenny Shaw and Diontae Spencer, linebacker Khalil Bass and defensive backs Adam Berger and AJ Jefferson will also be in town for mini-camp.