Marcus Crandell hurt more than his throwing hand Friday night. The Calgary Stampeders quarterback also may have hurt his chances of getting a one-way ticket out of town in a blockbuster deal that would have netted the Red and White a former league MVP pivot.
Recent rumblings around McMahon Stadium suggest the Stamps were ready to ship Crandell, standout defensive lineman Joe Fleming and safety Wes Lysack to Winnipeg in exchange for quarterback Khari Jones and a draft pick.
While talking on QR77's halftime show during Friday night's game against B.C., Stampeders owner Michael Feterik added fuel to the fire, saying a trade would be announced today.
But then Crandell injured his throwing hand in the third quarter, leaving the contest and, in the process, possibly throwing the blockbuster deal out the window.
"I don't know what he's referring to but there are certain areas we've been addressing for quite some time and will continue to address," GM-head coach Matt Dunigan said yesterday when asked about Feterik's comments.
"As to if and when those things unfold, it's still very uncertain."
Stamps director of player personnel Miles Gorrell yesterday refused to comment on a potential trade, while Bombers GM Brendan Taman told the Winnipeg Sun he had talked to Calgary but a deal was never finalized.
If Crandell had been pencilled into a deal, his injury, depending on the severity, could delay or scuttle a swap.
Stamps head therapist Pat Clayton confirmed Crandell's hand injury is severe enough to keep him out of the lineup when the Stamps play Wednesday night in Toronto.
"(Clayton) said he had extensive tendon damage in one of his fingers on his throwing hand and he had re-injured his wrist," said Dunigan.
Crandell, his hand in a splint, was at McMahon yesterday for therapy but was not made available to the media.
The trade deadline is Oct. 13.
A Fleming deal has been simmering for the past two weeks, with B.C. Lions GM Wally Buono showing the most interest. But Buono offered only draft picks in return for last season's defensive player of the year, so the Stamps backed away.
Fleming becomes a free agent Feb. 15 and he's unlikely to re-sign in Calgary.
Moving or not re-signing Fleming, who earns in the neighbourhood of $170,000 a season, would free up salary-cap cash for a quarterback.
The addition of Jones to the Stamps lineup would provide credibility to an offence that has floundered all season, winning just three of 14 games.
Skeptics might suggest Feterik is attempting to beef up the roster to entice local buyers to step forward and purchase the struggling club.
Jones was the CFL's most outstanding player in 2001, leading the Bombers to the Grey Cup game before losing to the Stampeders.
He also led the CFL in passing TDs, yardage and completions in 2001 and '02.
Drawbacks in acquiring Jones include his age, 33, and salary that exceeds $300,000 after signing a three-year contract extension earlier this season. He has also struggled this year with a nagging shoulder injury and has just started throwing the ball in the last couple of weeks.
A source said it's unlikely Jones, who missed his fourth straight game last night in Montreal, would pass a Stampeders physical now.
"We've been trying to put this football team in a good situation for a long time now ... and we're continually doing those things," said Dunigan, realizing Feterik needs to sign off on any swap for high-priced talent like Jones. "Michael has been kept abreast of all our discussions and what happens and he's a big part of those things."
Whether his part included jumping the gun on a trade announcement remains to be seen.
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MAKE THE CALL
If you were Stamps GM Matt Dunigan, would you trade QB Marcus Crandell, DL Joe Fleming and S Wes Lysack to Winnipeg for QB Khari Jones and a draft pick? Yes or no?