The Riders gathered on Tuesday for the final time before heading to their respective off-season homes.
It’s called garbage-bag day because they players clean out their lockers and fill green garbage bags with their belongings. It’s a bitter-sweet day, especially when teams fall short of winning the Grey Cup. I’ve never had the experience of being involved in garbage-bag days after that has taken place, but I do have a fair bit when it comes to teams being eliminated from the playoff hunt.
Based on that, Tuesday was a typical wrapper. There is more optimism than in 2011 due to the younger players on the roster and the coaching staff that’s in place. Who knows what the off-season holds because change is a big part of the CFL game. We’ll see where that goes as the off-season plays out.
For now, here are the highlights and some observations from Tuesday’s events at Mosaic Stadium.
- What really happens on garbage-bag day is I scurry around trying to confirm who has played out their option and can file for free agency on Feb. 15. There is no list of the impending free agents available until after the Grey Cup. So that means searching the web for when players signings, guessing how long they have signed for and them asking them about their status. Most contracts are between one and two years with option years, which limits some of the guess work. Still some of the players whose status I needed to check weren’t at the stadium this morning. With that in mind, here’s a list of the confirmed free agents that Jamie Nye and I were able to compile.
39 Chris McKenzie ● DB
11 Odell Willis ● DE
16 Eddie Russ ● DB
41 Tyron Brackenridge ● LB
45 Mike McCullough LB
51 Alex Krausnick-Groh OL
53 Patrick Neufeld OT
93 Tearrius George ● DT
86 Dallas Baker * WR
- The prevailing attitude among the free agents is they want to return to the Riders. Willis wants to test the NFL waters. If that doesn’t work out, he said he would return to the Riders. There will be more on Willis and the free agents online later and in Wednesday’s Leader-Post.
- Head coach Corey Chamblin has already turned the page on 2012 and is looking forward to 2013. He’s excited about the season because of the experience gained by some of the rookies and first-year CFLers. He figures they will be that much better in 2013 because of what they went through in 2012.
- It sounds like George is expecting a call from the CFL for his high hit on Calgary quarterback Drew Tate. I would expect George to accept whatever the league decides and move on from there. I’ll have more on that later today as well.
- These are busy times around the Riders’ offices. There are exit meetings with the individual players and their respective position coaches. Some meet with general manager Brendan Taman and assistant general manager Jeremy O’Day to work out on their contract status. There are some year-end dinners planned before the players all depart. Most are planning to rest for a few weeks before returning to the grind of training for the 2013 season.
- That’s for now. Remember to check online and in Wednesday’s paper to see what Rob Vanstone and I were able to produce from today’s events.