Als give GM Popp contract extension

SERGE FORGUES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:03 PM ET

MONTREAL — Any uncertainty regarding Jim Popp's future has been wiped away — the Montreal Alouettes have signed the general manager to a four-year contract extension.

Popp's flair for talent has played a crucial role in making the Als the dominant CFL team for the past decade, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by team owner Bob Wetenhall.

Popp says the four-year deal is a telling sign the team still trusts him.

"The organization was adamant they wanted a long-term contract, so why fight it?" Popp said Wednesday.

"This type of contract is not the norm in the CFL. My previous contract was also a long-term affair and that allows me a stability for which I'm thankful ... It says a lot about the owner's appreciation."

Als president Larry Smith also acknowledged Popp's uncanny talent for scouting the best players across North America, thanks to his tight network of contacts.

Coach Marc Trestman is happy to continue working alongside Popp, praising the GM's leadership.

Popp's record as GM has made him attractive to American teams and he admits he has contemplated heading to the U.S.

"I'd lie if I told you it didn't come quite close at a certain point, but when the time came to make the final decision, I felt I wasn't ready yet," the 45-year-old American said.

The father of six opted instead for continuity, having been the Als GM since the return of the team to the CFL in 1996.

"I live here, this is where I call home. All six of my kids were born and raised here, and they don't know any other place they can call home. "They're Canadians and, to a certain extent, French-Canadian. They root for the Canadian team during the Olympics and can't understand why I root for two teams."

During Popp's reign, the Alouettes have a regular-season record of 168-88-1 and have finished first in the East eight times. They've had only one season below .500 and have never missed the playoffs.

They've played in seven Grey Cup finals, winning in 2002 and 2009.


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