OZZY is off the team.
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[b]“I was called in before Christmas,? said the 49-year-old who is the Tiger-Cats’ career scoring leader and holds most of the franchise kicking records. “They said they were going to go in a different direction. They didn’t give any kind of reason. I wasn’t going to sit and argue or debate. They had made up their minds at that point.?
Austin doesn’t want to discuss the coaching staff until it’s formally announced but it’s known that the only change from last year’s crew which coached the Cats to a Grey Cup appearance is the deletion of Osbaldiston[/b]
[b]Osbaldiston, who retired as a player in early 2004, joined the Cats’ coaching staff on a part-time basis under head coach Marcel Bellefeuille three years ago, then became the kicking coaching in 2012, helping then-new placekicker Luca Congi to a great season and helping acclimatize Australian punter Josh Bartel to the CFL . He was given more special teams responsibility under Austin and Reinebold last season, as well as continuing to work with kickers Congi, Josh Bartel and Brett Lauther and long snapper Kevin Scott.
But Congi struggled much of the year, and at one point lost the job to rookie Lauther, who in turn lost it back to Congi.
With the exception of Lauther, who may provide the long-term answer here, the entire 2013 kicking caravan has now departed, as former Cat punter/kicker Justin Medlock returns from the NFL to take up his dual portfolio for 2014. Scott is with the new Ottawa franchise, Congi was released and Bartel was traded to Saskatchewan.
Osbaldiston doesn’t think Congi’s periodic problems last year were the reason he wasn’t re-hired but does concede that the veteran Medlock won’t require much personal mentoring.
“He doesn’t need any, he’s very self aware,? said Osbaldiston, who started his Cats’ coaching stint in 2011, Medlock’s only season in black and gold. “I was around then, but not in a full capacity. I was working more with (Josh) Maveety then and occasionally I’d help Medlock a bit.?
Osbaldiston, who spent 18 seasons in Cat livery and was the kicker for the franchise’s only two Grey Cup victories in the past 42 years, admitted he’s “a little disappointed. I’ve been with the organization so long, and I love the organization so much.
“I enjoy coaching and I thought I was good at it, but at the end of the day, it’s one of those things that happen for a reason.
“For me to be a coach, it would be hard on the family, so I had to think long and hard about whether I want to down that road or not.?
Osbaldiston said there weren’t any openings around the CFL anyway and even if there had been, because of concern for his family he wouldn’t move out of this region to pursue a coaching career.
“How many guys do you know who coach in the same area for more than two or three years?? he asked rhetorically. “If I could coach around here, I’d coach until I’m 132 years old.
“I’ll always be a Tiger-Cat.?
And, we suspect, there’ll come a day when he’ll work for this franchise again.[/b]