Injuries, bad food cramp defense

CFLS NOTEBOOK

August 09, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Rush end is no longer a defensive position with the Baltimore CFLs; it's a bus stop.

Here comes another one.

When rookie Melendez Byrd filled the breach created by an outbreak of food poisoning Saturday night in Las Vegas, he became the fourth player to man the right rush end spot in five games.

And that's not counting the guy who was ticketed for the job in the preseason. Ken Benson, a converted linebacker like left end O. J. Brigance, broke his right leg playing special teams in a preseason game in Shreveport, and the position has been on a swivel ever since. Also appearing there have been William King, Malcolm Goodwin and Ricky Andrews.

"I liked the freedom of rush end," said Byrd, a backup linebacker who spelled, then replaced, Goodwin in a 38-33 win over the Posse. "I liked it a lot."

Goodwin came down with a bad case of food poisoning after an afternoon meal of spaghetti and meatballs. The effects hit him five minutes before the game and he lasted until the third quarter. He was hospitalized overnight, then returned to Baltimore Sunday.

Goodwin's twin brother Matt, a linebacker, was spared the ordeal when he ordered spaghetti without meatballs. "I should have done that, too," Malcolm said.

Malcolm Goodwin will be back on the job tomorrow night when the CFLs play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Memorial Stadium. His motivation is to show he belongs.

"I want to show I deserve to be there," he said. "I was kind of disappointed I couldn't give my full effort [Saturday]. I knew my assignments. I just couldn't put out a full effort. . . . O. J. had great pressure the other night. He was constantly in the backfield. This week it's my turn to be in the backfield with him."

While Goodwin was warming to the job yesterday, his predecessor, King, was in Huntington, W.Va., enrolling in fall classes at Marshall University. King's season appears over. He left the team last Thursday because of a "family emergency."

His agent, Ellen Zavian of Columbia, said yesterday King felt the need to be closer to his family in Charleston, W.Va. "It was his idea," Zavian said. "Nobody in his family pressured him to do it either way. He talked to his family. . . . He felt his family came first. And he needed to be with his family at this time. He is going back to school."

CFLs coach Don Matthews said he would leave the door open should King decide to return. Meanwhile, Benson attended practice yesterday wearing a "moon boot." He had a pin removed from his leg on Aug. 1 (six screws and a plate remain), and is aiming for an early September return. Rookie wide receiver Shannon Culver, who walked out on the CFLs in a huff over his playing status July 12 and was suspended, will return to the team this week, his agent said.

John Paye, based in the San Francisco Bay area, said he expects Culver to report to the team later this week. He will work as a practice player for 10 days, after which the club is obligated to activate him, release him, or offer a spot on the practice roster.

Paye said Culver would be willing to return as a practice squad player.

"He realizes he made a mistake," Paye said. "Shannon can be an emotional person. He has personally apologized to the coaches and to Coach Matthews. More than anything, he needs to get back out to apologize to his teammates."

Matthews at milestone

Matthews goes for his 100th career CFL victory tomorrow night. Only one other CFL coach will have won 100 quicker than Matthews (99-61-1) -- Bud Grant, a Hall of Famer in the NFL and CFL. Grant needed 151 games to win his 100th.

Even if Matthews doesn't get it against Hamilton, he almost certainly will beat out Eagle Keys, who needed 176 games and 11 years to reach the milestone.

"When they said I was close to 100, I had no idea," Matthews said. "It isn't something you look back on when you're coaching."

Will it be a meaningful moment? "It will be when I'm done coaching," he said.

Miscellaneous

Defensive tackle Robert Presbury, who broke his right thumb on the first play of the Las Vegas game, will have surgery on Thursday -- after he plays against Hamilton. Presbury said he doesn't expect to miss any games. . . . The CFLs have added slotback Reggie Perry to the practice roster. Perry was cut in training camp with a torn ligament in his finger. . . . Free safety Lester Smith played receiver on the scout team yesterday and had three catches, one of them a diving grab. . . . Wide receivers Walter Wilson (hip pointer) and Chris Armstrong (knee) had limited participation in yesterday's practice, but Matthews expects both to play tomorrow.

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