Karikari signs with Blue Bombers

Karikari joins Bombers after snub by Matthews

HERB ZURKOWSKY, The Gazette

Richard Karikari has all but decided to leave the Alouettes and sign with Winnipeg as a free agent. The Canadian safety said Doug Berry, the Blue Bombers' new head coach and Montreal's former offensive co-ordinator, played a pivotal role.

"I look at the little things. Doug Berry called me four or five times," Karikari told The Gazette last night. "For me, from my standpoint, those are the little things I look at. There were a lot of different factors. Obviously, money was a little part of it. But it's also about coaching and the type of team I'm going to."

Although Karikari spoke to Als general manager Jim Popp yesterday - the same time the Bombers made a final offer - the player said he found it "shocking" that he never heard from Montreal head coach Don Matthews.

The contract hasn't been signed and the deal could fall through, but Karikari has reached an agreement in principle with Winnipeg on a two-year pact, including an option year.

It has been widely reported the Bombers offered a base salary of $130,000 for the upcoming season, but sources on each team said both were enticing Karikari with contracts worth more than $130,000 annually. Winnipeg's includes a signing bonus and was restructured yesterday. The player's base salary was an estimated $62,500 last season.

"You know something, the difference in the two offers wasn't ridiculous," Karikari said. "They were pretty close. We're not talking about $40,000 or $50,000. It's a good contract and the numbers are pretty decent."

Drafted in the second round (14th overall) in 2003, Karikari spent three seasons with the Als, becoming a starter in 2005. He intercepted nine passes - second-highest in the CFL - returning one for an 81-yard touchdown. He could be replaced by Matthieu Proulx, Montreal's first-round draft choice last season.

Karikari is leaving a team that reached the Grey Cup last season, and has been in the league's championship game three of the last four years, for a Bombers club that went 5-13.

"I'm thinking about it now and wondering whether I'm making the right decision," Karikari admitted. "Montreal will probably get to the Eastern final and Grey Cup again. Montreal has talent and depth. Jim Popp can replace anybody and the Alouettes are always going to be good."

Notes - Veteran Als slotback Terry Vaughn vehemently denied he was owed an offseason bonus payment last week, as The Gazette reported. ... The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are expected to announce the acquisition of ex-Als receiver Kwame Cavil today from Edmonton for a draft choice.

hzurkowsky@thegazette.canwest.com

everyone say thanks to tanman

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLAYOFFS AND GREY CUP!!!!!!!!!! HEAR WE COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...Bomber fans can say thanks to Doug Berry.....Karikari says that his decision to play for Wpg. had a lot to do with his signing on with a coach of his calibre...and didn't speak too kindly of the DON who didn't return his calls,,,,......all he has to do is dot the I'S and cross the T's....and we have a very solid Canadian...db. ....I think we have a few more signings on the horizon.....I think we're getting serious... :wink:

I think the Bombers just need Kahari Jones and were set.

.........didn't get his ego stroked eh?........good player on the field, problem off the field?.......maybe, maybe not........good signing if this goes through nonetheless.......

Still planning the parade route I see...with a backup Quarterback running the team..... :?

Papalooza, the article never said the Don did not return Karikari's calls. It says the Don did not call Karikari. There's a big difference between the two.

Personally, I think this is the lamest reason ever given to chose a team over another. The Don never interferes with the negociation process which is Popp's responsibility. And I doubt the Don is the kind of guy to call you just to say "Hey dude, what's up? I miss ya."

In my book, selecting a team over a tally of phone calls shows misplaced priorities. Especially since he admits he think Montreal is going back to the Grey Cup. He should have said he liked the challenge of turning the Bombers around, or liked Winnipeg so much he had to go there (though that would hardly been more credible), but the phone calls thing is lame.

That being said, Winnipeg just landed a very good player. I doubt he'll grab nine picks again this year, but he's fast as hell and knows his football.

Proulx just got promoted to a starting job. Good for him. He's good too.

The thought of hearing you come is pretty traumatizing...

........ew, I'm traumatized.....

Well, some people can get out of joint with what is perceived as mis or dis communication, it makes them feel they are not wanted, if this is the case here or not. Myself I'm not sure I would say this publicly though, I'd hope I'd keep it on the up and up ie. I chose this team over that team not because of a phone call or not but rather I liked the approach this coach takes to defensive strategy, the offer was better monetarily etc. But to start saying about phone calls publicly, well, shabby.

...now hold on Third.....we've been bit before....when Taman said he had Brian Clarke all signed and delivered ...and at the last minute he jumped the horse to cowtown... I was a little perturbed....I'll feel a whole lot better when he has signed on the dotted line....and agreed ...he is very good and fast...something the Bomber secondary sorely lacked....and a few other things....I.m NOT prpared to fall all over myself ...till the guy is signed and shows his stuff on the field...sorry about the mixup with the Don....I know he stays out of negotiations.....sound like Richard was looking for anything to use a booster shot to leave....his last line in the Mont. paper kind of bothers me....Did I make the right decision.....well Richard ...you won't find that out till you officially make one and head down that road.... :wink:

Karikari doesn't look like a decision maker. He took over a month to evaluate his three options (like Ottawa was a serious one... really...) and now that he announces his decision, he's says he's not even sure it was the right one. That sounds like a guy not fully committed. I hope for you guys Berry keeps on landing him a lot of phone calls, because you wouldn't want him to assess his decision was a bad one if things don't start well in the Peg.

I can't quite explain why, but I don't feel bad about us losing him. I don't know why. He was the fastest guy on our team, has a nice personality, can grab interceptions, was about the only thing working in our secondary... But I do not feel a tenth of what I felt when we lost Barron Miles. Maybe it's in part because I don't like guys who ask for the moon after one good season... I don't know...

I think this was his cry out to the Don for some love.
He hasn't signed cause he's still waiting for Don to say he wants him

It's kinda brokeback montreal :smiley:

So Don, pickup the phone, take it for the team :smiley:

lol Marty... I'd see the Don "sacrifice himself" by saying "I love you" once in his life...

Wow, the Bombers are actually going to be good next year. I’m predicting a record of 11-7, maybe 12-6.

think everyone in the cfl wants to give milt a ring or something or they felt sorry for us

HEY DIDN'T YOU HEAR ME? I SAID NOW WE JUST NEED K.JONES AND IT WILL BE 2001 ALOVER AGAIN!!!!!!

[url=http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/sports/story.html?id=a4170e4b-9430-4155-8839-a1577f59e07f]http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/n ... 577f59e07f[/url]

An exasperated Jim Popp said the Alouettes have done everything in their power - short of getting into a bidding war - to retain Canadian free-agent safety Richard Karikari.

"I don't know what else I can do," the Als' general manager told The Gazette last night from Las Vegas. "They gave me a round number and I met it. I met their line in the sand. They gave me 48 hours to meet it, and I did it in 24 hours. They told me if I met their number, the deal was done."

Twenty-four hours after announcing he'd agreed in principle to a three-year contract with Winnipeg, Karikari still hadn't faxed a signed deal to the Blue Bombers' office. The delay has led to some concern from Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman, who received a call last night from Ken Vierra, Karikari's agent.

"Vierra said there was a problem," Taman said. "He's not ready to sign what we proposed. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. Montreal's still in the mix, and I'm no further ahead than I was two weeks ago.

"It feels like we're on a roller coaster," he said. "I was told I was in the mix, but now I'm led to believe we may not have him."

Popp placed a call to Karikari earlier yesterday, advising the three-year veteran to make sure he knew what he was getting into. Coincidentally or not, that conversation might be the result of Karikari's waffling.

The Als have reached the Grey Cup three of the last four years, including 2005, when they lost in double overtime to Edmonton. The Bombers, conversely, lost 13 of 18 games last season and their defence allowed a whopping 558 points. Winnipeg will be coached in the coming season by Doug Berry, Montreal's former offensive co-ordinator, who has never been a head coach at any level.

"Right now, I'm just looking over the information. Nothing has changed," Karikari said late last night. "I'm not going to rush a decision that'll affect me for three years. I want everyone's full numbers before I decide.

"I'm not leaning one way or another. Don't write that I'm second-guessing my decision. I'm looking over the paperwork."

Although Karikari didn't become a starter until last season, the Bombers are poised to make the 26-year-old a rich man. Winnipeg is believed to be offering a contract that could pay close to $150,000 annually. Montreal's offer, meanwhile, is believed to be at least $130,000.

"I hope Richard chooses a team for the right reason, and not just for the money," Popp said. "I want him to stay because he wants to play for the Alouettes. But I can't match Winnipeg's offer. If this is over money, I can't match it. But we're doing what we can to try and keep him."

Karikari intercepted a team-leading nine passes last season, returning one for a touchdown, and was named to the CFL all-star team. Should he leave Montreal, a possible replacement would be Matthieu Proulx, the Als' first-round draft choice last April who received considerable playing time as a rookie.

"Matt may be the guy," Popp said. "When called upon, he did a nice job. He was outstanding down the stretch, when Richard was hurt. He grew a lot as the season went on."

this is ridiculous already....