QB Danny Collins among those gone as Ottawa Redblacks trim roster
After releasing 13 players Friday, the Ottawa Redblacks said goodbye to four more Saturday, the most surprising being quarterback Danny Collins, who was the team’s third-stringer much of last season.
Also gone are running back Dalton Crossan, defensive back Deshawntee “Ironhead” Gallon and defensive lineman Max Soto as the Redblacks made their final cuts prior to the CFL’s roster cutdown Saturday at 10 p.m.
Collins completed eight of 17 passes for 90 yards in 2018, his second season with the Redblacks. He has a huge arm, but the Redblacks decided to go with Will Arndt ahead of him — behind Dominique Davis and Jonathon Jennings.
“We liked Will more based on what’s happened so far,” said Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins. “We didn’t feel keeping a fourth quarterback around was a necessity at this time.”
Asked if the team would sign another quarterback, Desjardins said, “We may at some point, if we find the right guy.”
Gallon was extremely impressive in training camp with the Redblacks, but he tore his Achilles tendon during Thursday’s 20-20 pre-season tie with the Alouettes in Montreal, and that sealed his fate.
Crossan was another guy with a good resumé, but the Redblacks couldn’t fit him in.
“Dalton was hurt a bit and missed some time so he wasn’t able to show us much,” said Desjardins. “We would have liked to have had him around as well. But to have three American tailbacks here doesn’t fit into the equation.”
Added to the Redblacks’ practice roster were: Running backs John Crockett and Greg Morris, defensive backs Deandre Farris, Ranthony Texada and Shaneil Jenkins, receivers Wesley Lewis and Guillermo Villalobos (selected in the CFL’s draft of Mexican players), offensive linemen Daniel Omara (a former Carleton Raven) and DeVondre Seymour, and defensive linemen Kene Onyeka (Carleton) and Blaine Woodson.
Texada had an interception Thursday night.
“He’s versatile — he can play corner and some half,” said Desjardins. “He’s not the biggest guy, but he makes up for it with quickness and instincts. He’s a guy we feel pretty good about.”
Crockett was very impressive in training camp and will start the season behind Mossis Madu.
“I guess the best way to put it is we’re fortunate to have two very good running backs,” said Desjardins. “We’ll deal with it week by week, but Madu is the incumbent and deserves the chance.”
Added to the suspended list were defensive linemen Chris Larsen and Samson Abbott (both are from the University of Manitoba) and Thomas Grant (Acadia). They all have college eligibility remaining. Also suspended was receiver/returner DeVonte Dedmon, who returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in a pre-season game against Hamilton. It’s suspected that Dedmon is injured. By putting players on the suspended list, the Redblacks retain their rights. So it’s possible Dedmon could be brought back at some point.
Released Friday: Receivers Tyrone Pierre (who’s from Ottawa and played at Laval), Jordan Bouah (selected in the CFL’s European draft) and Darius Powe, defensive linemen Kevin Bronson, John Sheehy and Max Valles, linebackers Charles Brousseau and Drew Morris (who’s from Ottawa), defensive backs Joe Brown, Monteze Latimore and Shamar Busby, and offensive linemen Ryan Schmidt and Jacob Czaja.
The Redblacks will go with three kickers on their roster to begin the season — a Canadian (Lewis Ward), an American (Richie Leone) and a global player (Jose Maltos, selected in the Mexican league draft).
Game-day rosters will be 45 players this year, up from 44, with one of those being “global”.
Linebacker De’Andre Montgomery, who was signed just two weeks ago and had five tackles against Montreal, was one of those who earned a roster spot. Big offensive lineman Stephane Nembot, from Cameroon, is listed on the roster. Receiver Jacob Scarfone, who was impressive against the Als with seven catches for 75 yards, also made the roster.
“(Scarfone’s) progressed quite a bit from last year,” said Desjardins. “He’s shown he has very good hands and knows how to get open. I know we use the expression, ‘It’s not too big for him,’ but he can handle being in this environment, he can handle making plays when his number is called. He’s a guy with good upside.”
Look for the Redblacks to start five Canadian offensive linemen — Mark Korte, Evan Johnson, Alex Mateas, Nolan MacMillan and Jason Lauzon-Seguin. It also looks like Ottawa will start just one national receiver — Brad Sinopoli — with a logjam of Canadians, including Julian Feoli-Gudino and Nate Behar, behind him.
The Redblacks open their regular season June 15 in Calgary.
“I like what we have; I like our quality and I like our depth,” said Desjardins. “Calgary will be a good initial test for us. We’ll be able to see not only what we have in terms of individual quality, but team chemistry and all those things.”
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