Virginia mini-camp

Some comments and pictures from camp today.

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More Pics from the camp. Also it looks like some jersey numbers have been assigned. Notable players I recognized:

1 Burris
2 J. Johnson
4 Leonard
7 Fraser
9 Faulkner
17 DeMarco
19 P. Jackson
29 Walker
57 Barrette
74 Shologan
81 Lavoie

Also, in a previous topic, we wondered if Rough Rider retired numbers would be worn. I spotted #26 and #40, so it looks like the RedBlacks will not be honouring those numbers.

And Delahunt #49, if I'm not mistaken.

Just curious,anybody know if Marwan Hage was at the mini-camp ??? I'm assuming he'll be wearing #62 jersey same as when he was on the Cats.I didn't notice him in any of the photos taken and posted. There was talk he could retire after 10 seasons played,but I heard he said he was going to play this season for the RB's.I'm hoping that he will play IMO he should be good for at least 2 maybe 3 more years,depending on if he can avoid the injury bug that has plaqued him the last couple of seasons.

#62 is Moe Racine's old number and retired by the Rough Riders but with #26 and #40 being worn at camp,I also have to now wonder if the retired numbers will be honoured and recognized by the new regime.

I think the RedBlacks should be ashamed of themselves if they don't honour the past retired numbers. If that's the case I may not renew my season tickets next year.

I don't know if practice jerseys "count" for that kind of thing. I've never seen any indication that they wouldn't keep those numbers retired.

We'll see, I guess.

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Predictably, quarterback Henry Burris was smiling and laughing. Maybe he flashes those pearly whites every day.

Receiver Fred Rouse was showing his dance moves.

And coach Don Yanowsky was barking at the players -- an awesome highlight reel of quotes that can't be used here.

Under a cloudless sky, it was a good Day 2 of the Ottawa RedBlacks mini camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center.

The players come from towns and cities like Abbeville, Dunwoody, Spiro, Willow Run, Ladner and Echo Bay -- hell, one of them is from Beirut.

What fans see are tangible things -- pass completions, touchdowns, interceptions, fumbles, fumble recoveries, sacks ... and a final score. Good or bad, players are often measured by numbers.

What fans don't often get a measure of goes way beyond statistics. These guys have stories. They've gotten here in different ways, but share the same end goal. Some have been through hardship, there's been pain, and some have rested their fate in faith. Some have been in the league for years, others are getting their first crack at a pro training camp.

It's from this mosaic that the RedBlacks will create a culture. In football it's all about the team -- a bunch of players with their own stories, looking to contribute to the collective effort.

Joe Eppele won a Grey Cup with the Argos. As a Canadian offensive lineman in a league that treasures that as an asset, he probably had good reason to feel secure in T.O. But even 6-foot-8 guys who weigh more than 300 lbs., can get dealt a humbling dose of reality. He was left unprotected in the CFL expansion draft up and was snagged by the RedBlacks.

"Having my first switch of teams in the pros is a big move," said the 26-year-old Eppele on Thursday. "But I understand the organization's decision to not protect me -- given the fact I was going into two surgeries in the off-season and given the depth we had on the offensive line. It took a bit of getting used to, but once I came out here and saw what they've put together, I'm feeling a lot better after this."

He had the surgeries a couple of months ago -- to his shoulder and to have a vein stripped on his leg.

"Rehab's been progressing quicker than we expected," he said. "I bounce back pretty quick. I'm still young."

He's excited to be here, eager to push ahead with a professional career that began to take root when he was selected second overall in the 2010 CFL draft out of Washington State.

"You get here and it flicks that switch," said Eppele. "It cuts that off-season feeling out of it. It's tough when you just see all the names on paper, but coming out here and actually meeting the guys, the ones you're going to be putting it all on the line for -- it brings you back to reality."

Paul de Pass, a receiver out of the University of Toronto, is in his first CFL camp. With the Blues, last season he ranked third in the CIS with 53 catches for 970 yards and six touchdowns. Toss that out the window. This is a whole new world, one he says he's ready for.

"The process starts all over again," said de Pass, 23. "Being a rookie, you have to know your role, take a backseat and really absorb and learn from the veterans.

"I wasn't so much nervous because I felt like I was prepared. Getting your feet wet is the biggest thing. Speed was something that was more overwhelming than anything. It took a day to adjust to.

"It's been a dream for quite awhile now. To be able to get an opportunity like this is pretty special and I'm hoping to make the most of it."

The theme coming out of this camp is Believe.

"There's a ton of adversity against us," said Eppele. "But this camp has put that whole expansion team side of things asleep. Seeing the talent they've put together and how things are starting to mesh -- we have a long way to go, but I think we can be a very competitive team here."

These guys will endear themselves to Ottawa football fans. Just wait and see.

"These guys will endear themselves to Ottawa football fans. Just wait and see."

I agree. I watched the video with Henry Burris and the he seems like a really nice person. Too bad Kevin Glenn is pissed off because he seems like a decent guy too. I'm already a fan of these guys just by the way they carry themselves. Hope Glenn has a change of heart. The guy seemed genuinely excited when the RedBlacks signed him. Too bad.

I can truly say that I don't remember this kind of vibe with the Renegades when they started. Not saying they all hated one another, but it seemed more like just a bunch of guys doing a job.

These guys seem to be enjoying the hell out of what they're doing. And Burris was talking the day about how funny the guys he's playing with are. That's kind of cool to hear.

There was a picture the other day in the Citizen of five of them at some event and a couple of them, knowing their picture was being taken, struck model poses. The overall attitude seems great. :thup:

“hell,one of them is from Beirut” Sounds like Marwan showed up…not unless the RB’s have somebody else that was born there on the roster :wink:

http://ottawaredblacks.com/roster/show/id/735

Ah, good call…I forgot about that… :thup:

I think in total (Glenn included), four guys didn’t make it due to prior commitments. So pretty good turnout.

A sign of things to come???? Found this nice action shot from last season featuring 2 new RB's and 2 ex-Cats(#49-Delahunt)
(#29-Walker)throw in qb-Burris and center Hage and you have the Bermuda Triangle of ex-Cats for your team this year as the core of your offense up the middle.Hage snapping to Burris,Burris handing off to Walker and Delahunt leading the blocking. :cowboy:

http://ideas.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451bb7469e2019b03153f89970c-800wi

Here's another nice pic of Marwan and Hank after winning the East Final last year. :cowboy:

http://a4.typepad.com/6a00e550067de58833019b014783cc970d-800wi

Wow!!! Looks like Ottawa is in the market for a new center.I guess that Hage perhaps had a change of heart and after 10 years in the "Black n Gold" won't be changing colors after all and be retiring as a Ti-Cat. I wonder now if he indeed showed up at the mini-camp or was a no-show after all ?

I think Ottawa should be compensated for any player they picked in the expansion that then retired. Hamilton should have to allow Ottawa to pick another player from their original unprotected list.

Why should Ottawa be compensated?? Can you imagine,if all 24 players drafted decided to retire ? What would happen then,the league decrees the draft null and void and the whole process has to be repeated again ? The draft was a crapshoot for the RB's they had a chance to pick someone else from Hamilton instead of Hage,they chose not to and took a gamble on Hage,which they unfortunately lost.The scuttlebutt was that Desjardins was advised not to draft Hage,because of the fact that he might retire,Desjardin didn't agree and rolled the dice.Like the saying goes 'Ya win some,Ya lose some'.The RB's percentage in the draft is still high,out of 24 players drafted,only 3 so far haven't worked out,which leaves 21 players drafted that are more than happy to be playing football in Ottawa this season.I honestly think that regardless of the draft that there was a good chance of Hage retiring this year anyway.IMO Hage wasn't in the future plans of Austin moving forward with the Cats this season or he would've been protected in the draft and not exposed and unprotected in the first place.

Great idea! :roll:
This time Hamilton gets to protect nobody, and adds their first round draft pick and pays the guy's salary and ...

Chance you take when drafting an older player with solid roots in Hamilton now. Besides they have stockpiled up with Canadian Olineman who will not be going anywhere in the expansion draft, have an unsigned first round pick from last season and one that will be selected in the draft with the first pick.

Where the mistake was made is by not allowing Ottawa to talk to the players first. But the league wanted to keep secret the protected list so it made that impossible. Having said that players retire all the time. Flory is a good example, here is a guy who was likely protected in the second round who is now retiring...

Wasn't Hage rumoured to have a high salary too?

But anyway, no, you can't expect compensation for this kind of thing. It's a poker game, and not just for Ottawa. If Hamilton DID intend to keep Hage, they also had to take a chance that his personal situation would scare off Ottawa so they could protect someone else. No doubt every team had a similar situation or two. It couldn't have been easy for anyone.

Not sure that Saskatchewan expected to lose Shologan. Not sure I can count on Shologan to stick around when his contract runs out. Just the way it works. :cowboy: