Darren Flutie showed up for work earlier this week, ready for a new CFL season to begin.
As of yet, though, Flutie was not strapping on pads and preparing to haul in passes from his brother, Doug. Instead, Flutie was getting some publicity photos shot at the CBC headquarters in Toronto for a stint as the broadcaster's analyst for the 2005 campaign. Whether Darren and Doug will be in the lineup for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when the season launches is still up for debate.
"I don't know if we're any closer," said Tiger-Cats president David Sauve during the team's state of the franchise conference call yesterday.
"It's no secret that Darren would like to come back and play with Doug, but we're all waiting on a decision from Doug. I think he's looking at all the alternatives he has. For us, the sooner the better would be great but we have not given him a deadline. I think by early next week we'll have a better idea."
A handful of potential holes in the NFL were filled over the past week so Doug's choices, if he wishes to continue playing, are rapidly becoming limited.
The 42-year-old quarterback, who spent the last four seasons in San Diego, would certainly jive the Ticats a jolt of attention in tandem with his slick slotback sibling. But the move would likely force Hamilton to part company with popular veteran Danny McManus.
"It is an awkward situation, but there are no guaranteed spots," said Tiger-Cats head coach Greg Marshall. "Our GM Ron Lancaster has spoken to Danny about it and that's only right to hear it from us and not through the newspaper.
"It is an interesting situation that I think we'll have an answer to in an couple of weeks. Danny did a good job and was very consistent for us down the stretch last season."
Hamilton, which acquired former Esks Chris Brazzell and Dan Comiskey during the off-season, holds the sixth overall pick in tomorrow's CFL Canadian College Draft.
While there was speculation the Ticats wanted to make a deal with Calgary to get the No. 1 pick, those talks have cooled off. Still, Marshall expects his club could snatch up McMaster product and Hec Crighton Trophy winner Jesse Lumsden.
"I think there's a good chance he'll be there at six, but it will also depend on who else is available," suggested Marshall, who coached Lumsden at McMaster.
"We have a good idea who Calgary, Ottawa and Saskatchewan might pick. If he is available at No. 6 then we'll have a decision to make.
"It will be a risk because he could be in Seattle for a few years or for his career. That's the problem when you draft a player of his calibre. You might not ever see him."
ESKS NOTES: The Eskimos signed two players and dropped a pair yesterday. They invited defensive back Gerald Dixon and running back Elvis Joseph to training camp and cut little-used special teamers Olanzo Jarrett and Antonio Wilson. Dixon, 24, started for three seasons at the University of Alabama and spent parts of the 2003-04 seasons with Detroit and Buffalo and the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. Joseph, 26, played in 29 games for Jacksonville over the 2001-02 seasons, racking up 294 yards on 68 carries with two TDs.