Revolving roster revs up with 11 moves in week

CFL NOTEBOOK

August 21, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

The revolving door continued to spin last week at Memorial Stadium, where the Baltimore CFLs experienced their heaviest week of player transactions since training camp.

A week that started with last Sunday's release of two starters ended with Friday's signing of All-CFL linebacker Elfrid Payton to shore up the team's sporadic pass rush.

Altogether, the CFLs made 11 player moves. That includes the departure of three players, the return of two from the suspended list, the demotion of one to the practice roster, and the signing of five new players -- none of whom played last night against the Toronto Argonauts.

When Payton practices this week, he will become the 122nd player to wear a Baltimore uniform this summer.

It was a busy week for Jim Popp, CFLs director of player personnel.

"We're still trying to get a good network of guys we're comfortable with," Popp said. "We knew we'd go through a lot of people. Hopefully, we'll get to a point where it settles down. It's been a little more than we thought it'd be."

There will be more players going home this week, coach Don Matthews said. And because this is also cutdown week in the NFL, there is the possibility of new faces, too.

"We will continue to look at receivers," Matthews said after signing Reggie Brown last week. "It's always an ongoing evaluation process. We're trying to upgrade the practice roster, and then we're trying to upgrade the regular roster."

Brown is a typical move. He played four games for Matthews in Saskatchewan in 1992 (six catches, 76 yards, one touchdown). When he was cut, for the third time, by the Miami Dolphins this month, he was ready to try the CFL again.

Defensive tackle Malcolm Showell arrived via a different route. Popp spotted the former Dunbar player during a tour of the Cheese League (NFL teams training in Wisconsin) three weeks ago.

Showell had spent the 1993 season on the Green Bay Packers roster. When he was cut by the Packers last week, he was ready to join the CFLs -- even after Arizona Cardinals coach Buddy Ryan claimed him. Showell headed west, where, according to Popp, he told Ryan he wanted to play in Baltimore, and Ryan released him.

Blunting the rush

In the eyes of rush end O. J. Brigance, the addition of Payton to the CFLs' defensive line will "improve the defense tremendously."

A year ago, Payton, then a linebacker at Winnipeg, and Brigance, a rush end for the Lions, combined for 43 sacks, ranking 1-2 in the CFL. Through the first six weeks this season, they had a total of four, three by Brigance.

Brigance cited a few reasons for the drop-off.

"Last year by Game 7, I had over 10 [sacks]," Brigance said. "Offensive linemen across the board are better this year, and quarterbacks are making reads quicker.

"Plus, a lot of guys are switching teams. It's always a learning process trying to adapt to a different defense. This is a totally different type of defense than we ran at B.C. last year."

Wilson moves over

When rookie Joe Washington moved into the CFLs' lineup at wide receiver last night, a spinoff move saw wide-out Walter Wilson go from the weak side to the strong side. Wilson (six catches last night, 33 on the season) and slotback Chris Armstrong (five, 32) lined up on the same side of the field last night.

Waiting in the wings

Toronto kicker Wayne Lammle faced a critical point in his season last night -- and rose to the challenge. He hit on all three field-goal attempts and averaged 45.4 yards on seven punts. He'd had two punts and one field goal blocked this season in his dual role, and had made only 11 of 20 field-goal tries. Lammle replaced two vets this year -- place-kicker Lance Chomyc and punter Hank Ilesic. O'Billovich said he has talked to the popular ,, Chomyc about returning to the Argos.

It's in the water

Toronto quarterback Reggie Slack grew up in the Pensacola, Fla., area. At the same time he was there, the Pensacola region, population of 100,000, also produced Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jay Bell and former Washington Bullet Tom Hammonds.

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