CFL training camps got underway across the league today.
By my count there will be 19 Gryphons in CFL training camps. That includes three in coaching and management – Kyle Walters, Mike O’Shea and Jarryd Baines – in addition to 16 players. It would have been 20 but for Curtis Rukavina’s move from the CFL Argonauts to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills just announced yesterday.
Of the 16 players, nine are veterans of one or more CFL seasons and seven are rookies.
The most seasoned of the veterans are Calgary punter Rob Maver and Hamilton o-lineman Ryan Bomben. The pair finished their Gryphon careers in the 2009 season and were 2010 CFL draft picks.
The other “vets” all broke into the league between 2014 and 2016. They would include Cam Thorn, Jake Piotrowski and Jake Reinhart in the 2014 season, Jeff Finley, Cam Walker and Alex Charette in 2015 and Curtis Newton in 2016.
There were some lean years for Gryphon talent in the CFL prior to 2014. I’m not sure if there was a CFL regular season with more than two Gryphons in the league in the decade prior to that. Several seasons after the retirement of Mike O’Shea and David McKoy there were no active Gryphons. Things have come a long way.
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The schedule has been a little different for the rookies. They started training camp mid-week with 3-day Rookie Camps. They had the day off Saturday before joining the veterans in the main camp today.
Trying to make a CFL roster for the first time are …
A’dre Fraser – WR – Montreal Alouettes – a 2016 draft pick of the Als, brought back for a second crack at making their roster
Ryan Nieuwesteeg – WR – Toronto Argonauts – another 2016 draft pick who was deemed worthy of a second look
Jacob Scarfone – WR – Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 2017 6th Round draft pick
Tristan Doughin – DB – Hamilton Tiger-Cats – signed as a free agent
John Rush – LB/FB – Winnipeg Blue Bombers – this will be Rush’s second training camp with the Bombers. They put him on their neg list immediately after the 2015 Yates Cup, signed him for 2016 and re-signed him for 2017. In the off-season Rush was asked to transition to the Fullback position and he embraced that change.
Ian Marouf – DL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers – 2017 6th Round draft pick
Johnny Augustine – RB – Edmonton Eskimos – signed as a free agent
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Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea discusses his expectations for the rookies over the three days before the veterans report for the main camp.