Sad news..

I don't know if you guys have heard but while I was watching the Los Angeles Laker/Orlando Magic on The Score a couple minutes ago, sad news rolled by on the ticker.

Travis Claridge (Hamilton Tiger-Cats O-Lineman) passed away at AGE 27. If you guys don't know who I'm talking about, remember the guy who shut down Joe Montford? Yeah, him.

Sad news, and my best wishes go out to his family and friends.

Definetly Sad news. Sorry to hear that anybody goes that young.

Talented he was..Terrible news....Thoughts go out to the family n friends of Travis's..

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Offensive lineman Travis Claridge, who was looking to kick-start his pro football career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, died yesterday, the CFL team announced.

Claridge, 27, died in hospital in Las Vegas after being found unconscious at his home earlier in the day. The cause of death was not specified.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Ticats general manager Rob Katz said in a statement.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Claridge joined the Ticats in 2005, first spending time on the CFL team's practice roster before finally cracking the starting lineup when veteran Dave Hack was released. However, Claridge appeared in two regular-season games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Claridge, a native of Detroit, started all 48 games he played for the University of Southern California at right guard and was voted the Pac-10's top offensive lineman in 1999.

He was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 2000 NFL draft. Claridge started 27 games over the next two seasons but was limited to six starts in 2003 because of a knee injury. The Falcons didn't re-sign him following the 2003 season. He signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2004 as a free agent, but was cut during training camp.

My prayers also go out to his family and loved ones. Tragic.

My prayers go out to his family, I ask god to take care of him in heavan, and may he rest in peace.

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he will be missed.

My deepest sympathy to his family, friends, teammates, fans and the entire Ti-Cat organization. Way, way too young.

Also, pure class all the way as the site has an article on his passing away. Great stuff NFL, shows you care and respect the CFL all the way and don't forget your past players.

CFL and ex- NFL OL Claridge dead at 27

A very sad and tragic situation. I don't recall EVER being more impressed with a one-game performance by an offensive lineman than I was with Claridge's effort against Montford in a Hamilton/Edmonton match last year. Claridge was totally dominant, took Montford right out of the game, not an easy task I'm sure you are all aware.

Thought Hamilton had a real star there, and now he's gone, all too soon.

Truly sad.

Very sad news. I just saw him play the one game against Edmonton but he looked like the real deal. I don't know if he had a family or was single, but I knew his brother plays for the New England Patriots. Our prayers are with his family. Football doesn't seem to important at times like this.

I turned on the sports channel just before going to bed last night, to see if there were any free agent signings. I saw "CFL NEWS" and "TIGER-CATS..." and my head perked up, thinking I was about to find out some good news.

Then "...OL Travis Claridge..." and I thought, "Right on! He signed an extension," and I got excited, thinking about what a great player he is.

Then "...has passed away at age 27."

What a shock! I had to sit up for about two more hours before going to bed, and even then I had trouble getting to sleep.

There are a lot of great things being said about him on the Ticat web site. Though I never met him, those who had said he was a really nice guy who was willing to talk to anyone who would approach him. As fans, we all feel a huge loss, even though he was only on our team for a brief time.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Thanks, Travis, for what you did for our team and for the fans.

Rest in peace. You've earned it.

....Travis Claridges' passing is unfathomable ...and hard to comprehend ....the guy was so young...and showed so much promise.. my.sympathies to his family and friends...the football world is a poorer place now ...with Travis' passing... :!:

condoleance to his family, sad news.


Thursday, March 2, 2006 - 08:00AM

He didn't drink or take drugs. Yet somehow, Travis Claridge fell asleep and could not wake up.

By Sean Fitz-Gerald,
National Post

Officials in Nevada say they will need at least two weeks to determine what killed Travis Claridge, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive lineman who died in a Las Vegas-area hospital after being found unconscious in his home on Tuesday morning.

He was only 27.

"The cause of death is pending toxicology results, and the manner of death is pending, as well," Clark County Coroner spokeswoman Samantha Charles said yesterday. "Getting back the results from toxicology examinations could take anywhere from two to six weeks."

Claridge appeared in two games with the Ticats last season, his first in the Canadian Football League after injuries undercut a promising career in the National Football League. Aside from a knee injury that ended his season last year, the right tackle appeared to be in perfect health. He was expected to be the starter this summer.

"Running toxicology examinations is not unusual at all with respect to the broad picture of what's done with autopsies," Charles said. "So there isn't anything that should be read, one way or the other, with respect to the fact that toxicology exams were taken."

Toronto Argonauts slotback R. Jay Soward played with Claridge at the University of Southern California, and was shocked when he heard the news yesterday.

"The guy was a physical specimen," Soward said. "I know he didn't drink or take drugs -- I know it's no drug thing. If they find drugs in his system, somebody drugged him. And that's what I'm thinking: Somebody killed Travis.

"Travis, just dying in his sleep, I just don't see that."

Claridge's girlfriend called Las Vegas police around 9:20 a.m. on Tuesday, telling the 911 operator her boyfriend was unconscious and could not be awakened. Claridge was taken to St. Rose Dominican Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

"At this point, there are no signs of foul play," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sgt. Chris Jones said last night. "So, basically, right now it's in the hands of the coroner to determine that cause and manner of death."

The case will remain open, he said, as police await the coroner's final report. Jones also said "there is nothing to indicate" Claridge's death was a suicide.

Claridge was born in Detroit, but moved to California after his parents divorced. His final years of public school were spent in Vancouver, Wash., where he emerged as one of the most coveted high-school football prospects in the United States.

He chose USC, and earned a starting job two weeks after he arrived on campus.

"I take it personally when our quarterback gets hit," he said. "It's like somebody was slapping my mother in the face ... I don't like to see my quarterback leaving the game dirty. I don't like to see him put his uniform away to get it washed."

Claridge became the first lineman in school history to start every game of his collegiate career -- 48, in all -- despite undergoing two shoulder surgeries and an operation on his ankle.

His toughness prompted the Atlanta Falcons to select him with their first pick in the 2000 NFL draft, and he went on to make more than four dozen starts over the next four seasons. A knee strain in 2003 signaled the end of his time in Georgia, moving him along to the Carolina Panthers.

The NFC team gave him a signing bonus worth US$500,000, but cut him in training camp. And then, he was out of football.

"When I was in the NFL I was a pretty serious guy and had coaches tell me to relax," Claridge told a reporter last summer. "But with the time off, I came to a point where I realized all the people who were calling me when I was making big money and starting weren't calling anymore. And when I hurt my knee, no one called except my brother, Mom and Dad and two college buddies.

"So I realized if I got another opportunity I was going to do it up. I developed a different perspective on things, that I was going to have fun with the guys, I wasn't going to stress about things, and just go out and play."

He signed with the Ticats last year, agreeing at first to play for $500 a week on the practice roster. His aggression sparked an angry scrum on the field early in his first workout when he levelled veteran safety Rob Hitchcock during a drill.

Rookies aren't supposed to do that.

But most rookies aren't 6-foot-6, 310 pounds.

"Oh yeah, he crushed Hitchcock," Hamilton slotback Mike Morreale said, chuckling yesterday. "What a way to start off, eh? But you know what? He was trying to identify himself, and that didn't take too long."

Claridge shut down Edmonton rush end Joe Montford in his prime-time debut and seemed destined to prop up the right side of Hamilton's offensive for the rest of the season, until he was felled by his knee injury.

"He didn't want to sit by and say, 'OK, for the next six weeks I'm gonna take it easy and have six weeks free pay,'" Morreale said. "He didn't take it like that. He was like, 'I want to get back on that field.' And he was trying hard to do it."

Hamilton general manager Rob Katz said he spoke to Claridge more than once over the off-season. And Ticats offensive lineman Marwan Hage was planning to visit Claridge in the United States in a couple of weeks.

Claridge's mother was believed to be en route to Las Vegas yesterday to be with her other son, Ryan, a backup linebacker with the New England Patriots.

"They're close, and Ryan is heartbroken," said John Robinson, who coached Travis at USC and Ryan at UNLV. "His family was split up, and so the brothers, I think, identified with each other. Travis kind of took care of Ryan through most of his life."

Indeed, when Travis Claridge landed in Hamilton, he urged the Ticats to place his little brother on their negotiating list, in case the Patriots ever released him.

"As a team, it shakes you to the core," Morreale said. "It makes you realize how tragic life can be sometimes."

Sorry to hear this news. Great player. I wonder how this could have happened.

Already the "dark clouds" that accompany Joe Paopao have settled on the Ti-Cats! Bad things swirl around Joe (as we kept seeing for years in Ottawa)--sad for you Hamilton fans--but you will find out soon enough -and this is the 1st tragedy--that the football gods just have it in for Joe,and wherever he goes,bad things happen...

what a thing to say! a potentsal great of the CFL has just DIED!!!, mate, show some respect!

Prayers for family and friends...This is trulay sad and disturbing news.


Thursday, March 2, 2006 - 07:00PM

The Edmonton Eskimos announced today the passing of former defensive tackle York Hentschel, who played five seasons (1976-1980) with the club.

A native of Bentley, Alberta, Hentschel’s rise to pro football was an improbable journey. He played eight man football in his hometown before moving on to play two seasons with the Red Deer Packers. Hentschel was working as a lifeguard at a Miami Beach hotel when he was discovered by former Eskimo Head Coach Ray Jauch. In 1976, Hentschel was one of just four rookies to crack the lineup of the defending Grey Cup champion Eskimos and he became an integral of the famed 'Alberta Crude' defensive line that helped the Esks to Grey Cup victories in 1978 to 1980.

“York was a very quiet person who let his on-field actions do the talking,� said former teammate and Canadian Football Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Wilkinson.

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

As someone who has had the pleasure of meeting Travis both at the stadium and away from the football field...I can echo the positive remarks about "Trappers". He was indeed a "Gentle Giant" who went out of his way to "Thank the Fans" for their support. He will be remembered fondly!