Stampeders have played 'I Spy' before

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:40 PM ET

It’s with a bit of irony Danny McManus sniffed out the spy in Hamilton this week.

McManus is the reason Calgary Stampeders defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones is extra cautious sending in his defensive signals during games.

When Jones was defensive co-ordinator with the Montreal Alouettes in 2003, he noticed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback watching him instead of conducting his own huddle.

Turns out McManus was reading Jones’ signals. That’s when he started getting a player and an assistant coach on either side of him to disguise who is signalling what.

“I had to find a different way to get them in to people without revealing what they were,” said Jones, who then gave Danny Mac what is commonly know as the bird. “The next time he looked at me, I had a signal for him he might have seen a few times before.

“Once you go three or four series, if you’ve watched enough, if there is only one signaller, you might have a chance to pick up on it.

“I grew as a professional. I knew I couldn’t continue to do it this way.”

Once again, there is a spying scandal in the CFL.

A scout for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had his notes confiscated and was kicked out of Tiger-Cats practice Tuesday in Hamilton.

McManus, who is now a scout with the Ticats, recognized Ron Trentini because they were both at the Toronto Argonauts home-opener a week ago.

Trentini, who confessed to being a friend of Bombers player personnel director John Murphy, was diagramming plays from Ticats practice.

The Bombers distanced themselves from Trentini yesterday, releasing a statement saying they “did not engage the services of this individual who attended an open practice for said purposes nor do we condone such actions.”

The CFL is looking at cracking down on future violators

Jones isn’t surprised at this situation, but he was with the Alouettes when they were accused of filming signals during a Bombers-Ottawa Renegades game back in 2004. Jones wasn’t implicated in that incident.

Even if a team were to successfully spy on practice, the edge on the field would be slight. Yet football coaches are always looking for an extra edge.

“In such a small league, I’m sure it’s even gone on here (in Calgary). Who knows?” Jones said. “It’s one of those things to contend with. They still have to know when you are going to call certain things. I don’t view it as a huge problem.”

With the Stamps, Jones sends in signals between defensive-line coach Cornell Brown and defensive lineman/long-snapper Randy Chevrier. The trio look like orchestra conductors and the entire thing is a blur of arms and hands.

Even with McManus gone as an active player, Jones will still disguise his signals as much as possible.

“I would rather be safe than sorry,” Jones said. “I would rather know I put enough work in if something ended up costing us a game.”


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