Roughriders make deal with Tiger-Cats

Josh Bartel in Regina, Saskatchewan, November 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Josh Bartel in Regina, Saskatchewan, November 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:20 AM ET

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats traded a pair of non-imports, including all-star punter Josh Bartel, to the Saskatchewan Roughriders Monday.

The Ticats sent Australia-born Bartel, linebacker Shomari Williams of Toronto and the eighth overall pick in the 2014 CFL draft to the Riders for two picks -- ninth and 11th overall.

The deal sends Williams back to Saskatchewan, where he started his CFL career after being picked in the first round of the 2010 draft. The former Queen's star played three years with the Roughriders (2010-12) before signing with the Ticats as a free agent. Williams, who was hurt most of the season, played just six games with Hamilton.

Bartel, an East Division all-star in 2013, played two seasons with the Tiger-Cats. In 2013 he averaged 43.7 yards on 112 punts.

The picks give the Tiger-Cats seven in this year's draft, including three in the top 17.

ARGOS DROP BALL

The Toronto Argos released Marcus Ball Monday, opening the door for the linebacker to take a shot at making an NFL team.

The Argos announced the move on Twitter, hours after Ball sent out a cryptic tweet that seems to indicate he's signed with an NFL club.

"Bout to get/take my shot... Yall pray for me... Here we go #GETBALL," Ball said on Twitter.

Ball, who signed as a free agent with the Argos in 2012, developed into one of their mainstays on defence during his two seasons in the CFL. In 2013, the 26-year-old had 69 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

But the lure of the NFL was too strong, despite his success in the CFL.

"It's a dream of mine," Ball said in mid-November of playing in the NFL. "But it's in the big man's (God) hands. He'll take care of me. I'm sure of that."

NFLERS OK WITH GAY TEAMMATE

An ESPN poll indicated that 86% of NFL players surveyed would accept having an openly gay teammate.

The poll was taken in light of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam coming out as a homosexual. Sam is expected to be taken in the May draft but it is not certain how the revelation will affect his draft status.

ESPN surveyed 51 players (nearly the equivalent of an NFL roster) and asked four true-false questions.

Forty-four players (86%) indicated that a teammate's sexual orientation did not matter to them, and 39 (76%) indicated they would be comfortable showering around a gay teammate.

However, 32 players (less than 63%) responded that they had teammates or coaches who used homophobic slurs last season. Also, only 25 of the 51 players (49%) indicated that an openly gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room; 21 (or 41%) said he would not be comfortable, while another five (10%) did not answer.

WEBB JUMPS TO 7TH

Karrie Webb rose one spot to No. 7 in the world rankings following her dramatic come-from-behind victory at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The top six spots remained unchanged. Second-ranked Suzann Pettersen will make another attempt to unseat the No. 1 spot this week from Inbee Park, who will make her season debut in Thailand.

Stacy Lewis remains the top-ranked American at No. 3, while Paula Creamer climbed two spots this week to re-enter the Top 10. Lydia Ko and So Yeon Ryu round out the top five.

Chella Choi, who finished second in Australia, was tied for the biggest riser, moving five spots up to No. 23 despite narrowly missing out on her first LPGA victory. American Gerina Piller also gained five spots and is now ranked No. 31.

Yani Tseng, the dominant No. 1-ranked player entering 2013, continued her precipitous free fall, dropping two more spots to No. 45.

HULL, BRIGHTON DRAW IN FA CUP

Yannick Sagbo kept Hull City in the FA Cup with a late strike in their 1-1 fifth-round draw at second tier Brighton & Hove Albion to prevent an upset on Monday.

The pair now face a replay at Premier League Hull next Monday with Brighton looking to set up a quarter-final clash at home to Sunderland and their ex-manager Gus Poyet. Hull boss Steve Bruce also used to manage Sunderland.

Championship promotion hopefuls Brighton went ahead when Argentine Leonardo Ulloa started and finished an incisive move after half an hour but Ivory Coast striker Sagbo's smart control and shot five minutes from time levelled matters.

Poyet left Brighton last June after a clash with the board and in October joined top flight strugglers Sunderland, who are already through to next month's last eight.

NEWTON WON'T HOLD OUT

Carolina Panthers Cam Newton said during a radio interview that he does not plan to hold out to pressure the team into giving him a long-term contract extension, ESPN.com reported.

Newton recently completed his third season in the NFL. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Newton is eligible for an extension of his original four-year contract. The Panthers also have the option of picking up a fifth-year option on the quarterback's current contract.

The Panthers went 12-4 this past season, and general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera have said Newton is the team's franchise quarterback. However, there have been no signs that negotiations are underway on an extension or that the Panthers plan to pick up the option.

In any case, Newton said on the "Dan Patrick Show" on Monday that he does not plan to hold out to try to get a new contract.

"I'm not worried about contract discussions right now," he said. "My main focus is just becoming the better player I can become."

 


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