CFL Pass

Michael Sam returns to Alouettes, “almost cusses”; QB situation still unsettled [UPDATED]

How long has it been since a prospective CFL player received this much media attention south of the border? The Montreal Alouettes’ practice field yesterday played host to multiple reporters from both Canada and the US yesterday, as Michael Sam re-reported to the team.

Naturally the key questions put forth centered on two topics: Sam’s abrupt departure from the club during the leadup to last week’s opening day games and the feelings of professional football’s first openly gay player regarding the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision on marriage.

To the former, Sam offered no comment – though it should be noted that rumors regarding Sam’s lack of ability shown during training camp were dismissed by head coach Tom Higgins last week.

On the Supreme Court decision, “That was freaking awesome. I almost cussed, by the way. … It was historical and I’m very proud and very happy to be American right now.”

UPDATE: Celebrity muckraker website TMZ has reported that Sam is likely on the outs with his fiance Vito Cammisano -- though it seems no connection has been made between a breakup and Sam’s departure from Alouettes training camp.

Plan C for “Conundrum”

While the addition of the versatile Sam will certainly be a plus for the Alouettes defence, the Montreal team has bigger concerns on the other side of the ball to address before hosting the defending champion Calgary Stampeders on Friday – namely at quarterback.

After a disastrous third quarter in the opener against the Ottawa RedBlacks in which both Jon Crompton and Dan LeFevour were sidelined for at least the short term, the Als are down to what local media last night called “Plan C,” though the same report noted that, as of last night, the decision had not yet been made.

Both Brandon Bridge and Rakeem Cato received reps in the Alouettes’ practice yesterday – quite a shift from a week ago, when Bridge got zero practice time with the starting squad and Cato was not in attendance.

Consensus opinion from CFL fandom reckons that Bridge, who would become the first Canadian to start a game in the league since Giulio Caravatta of the 1996 BC Lions, will get the nod. Here at CFLpass, we forecasted that Bridge would do so for the Alouettes this season – we just didn’t figure it would be so soon.

Regardless of the final decision’s outcome, pessimism reigns. As the Montreal Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky put it, “Either way, things look bleak for the team, which already was struggling offensively — even with Crompton.” (And essentially completely disappeared in the second half, this observer might add.)

The dark side of the spectrum for the Alouettes’ 2015 bid has naturally been dissected on Twitter and such, particularly after Zurkowsky reported that Crompton had been added to the six-game injury list. Could Montreal – chosen by some to be playing in the Grey Cup – actually miss the playoffs altogether?

One rare take on the positive side came from Montreal-based sports journo Jared Book.

Whether one’s opinion of Bridge and Cato is high or not, Book does remind that anyone who figured the Alouettes would go far in 2015 were probably citing the team’s defensive talent as a primary reason.

Montreal fans will have to hope that Sam and his mates can steady this ship for a while; shutdown defence may be this team’s only hope right now.

– written by Os Davis