Stamps cut vet Armour

The Stamps cut linebacker JoJuan Armour on Monday following on-field incidents during practice....

The Stamps cut linebacker JoJuan Armour on Monday following on-field incidents during practice. (Sun Media/Darren Makowichuk)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

By cutting a veteran starter yesterday for undisciplined actions, Calgary Stampeders John Hufnagel made it clear the conduct he expects from his team.

Linebacker JoJuan Armour was released before practice following an on-the-field incident Friday when the 32-year-old threw receiver Jeremaine Copeland to the ground.

It wasn't the first incident, according to Hufnagel, and Armour was warned he was violating team policy. Despite being a member of the 2008 Grey Cup championship run and a returning starter, Hufnagel didn't hesitate to release Armour.

"I'm disappointed," Hufnagel said. "Honestly, it was in the best interests of this team. We will move on. We still have 12 guys on defence. We will give opportunities for people to step up and be productive.

"This was not a rash decision. I spent time making this decision and it is unfortunate."

Hufnagel waited until after the team received their Grey Cup rings Saturday night, but the signs were pointing to something happening.

Copeland stayed out of Saturday's practice with a hip injury, but returned Sunday, while Armour was dropped from the team's ring presentation to the media Sunday afternoon. He was scheduled to show off his ring with fellow captains Henry Burris and Sandro DeAngelis.

"If I came to this decision, I didn't think it should affect that evening for that player," Hufnagel said about the Saturday dinner.

The move was a bit of a shock to the players, but it also sends a message undisciplined action won't be tolerated by anybody.

"This is what makes coach Huf coach Huf," said Copeland.

"He doesn't want to make harsh decisions.

"It's part of wearing the horse on the side of your helmet. We're trying to be good players as well as good guys. You need to be good people in the community and good people to each other.

"It's more than what you do on the field. You have to be a professional on the field and off."

Armour was entering his second season with the Stamps, but his first one had a couple of bumps in the road.

A few days before Game 17, Armour was beat up at a downtown bar late at night and was left home from a road game in Hamilton.

During the course of 2008, Armour became the voice of the defence and was a go-to player for comments.

But that doesn't help when it comes to keeping a job because what you do on the field matters more. This could be a case where Armour became too much trouble for his worth on the field.

That makes him expendable, and the on-the-field incident could just be an excuse to get rid of him. In making the move, Hufnagel read a carefully worded statement.

"We have a very clear policy on team discipline, whether it's on the practice field, during games or off the field," Hufnagel said.

"JoJuan chose not to follow that policy recently during practice, therefore I chose to make this decision.

"We require that players practise safely and have respect for their teammates on the practice field.

"Unfortunately, JoJuan put his teammates at risk on multiple occasions recently and I can't accept that kind of activity."

You have to respect the decision, no matter how it hurts the production on the field.


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