CFL coaches need to be let off hook

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

Memo to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Ottawa Renegades: enough already.

Don't know about you, but I'm tired of watching CFL head coaches twisting in the cold, north wind, especially all-around nice guys like Jim Daley and Joe Paopao.

Paopao, in particular, seems to be getting a treatment worthy of a low-down politician in the nation's capital.

His Renegades, decimated by injury, were awful this year, and since he's been in charge three years now, it's quite possible he'll lose his job.

But instead of actually making a decision, team brass is dragging its heels, either because of a pending shift in ownership structure, or because they're busy sharpening the knife that's about to go into the back of GM Eric Tillman.

I know the CFL issued a ban on teams making major announcements prior to the Grey Cup, but this is getting ridiculous.

All the ban has done is fuel speculation. I can see the wisdom in keeping a lid on hirings and firings a few days before the Cup, but this has gone on for weeks.

Here in Bomberland, it appears management and Daley are simply working out the details of a new contract. Fine.

Out east, though, where Tillman didn't even stick around for the Grey Cup, this is turning into the longest death-watch since our very own Dave Ritchie's seven-week swoon early this season.

BONEHEADED: Speaking of coaches, what is it about the Grey Cup that seems to bring out a boneheaded coaching decision, year after year?

In 2002, it was a horrible third-down gamble by Edmonton's Tom Higgins against Montreal.

Last year, Alouettes boss Don Matthews chose to start two rookies at cornerback, with disastrous results.

Sunday, it was B.C. head coach Wally Buono's turn.

I don't care what Buono says about Casey Printers' shoulder, or his lack of success against Toronto this year. The decision to start, and then stick with, quarterback Dave Dickenson was awful.

What's the old saying? You dance with the one that brung ya.

Well, in this case, it was two. Printers and Dickenson were a dynamite combination in getting the Lions to the big game, mostly because their styles are so complimentary. Both should have seen the field Sunday.

Printers was the best player in the league this year, for crying out loud.

BONUS ROUND:

Ever wonder what football players do with their Grey Cup bonuses?

Argos receiver Andre Rison should be sending his $12,000 winners' share to the mother of two of his kids, just outside Atlanta.

They're probably not counting on it, since the guy is more than 100 grand behind on his support payments and on the verge of serving jail time. Meanwhile, mom is on disability with Crohn's disease, and can only work part-time.

And there's Rison, being honoured, along with all the Argos, in a Grey Cup parade.

There's something wrong with this picture.

MEMO NO. 2 TO THE BLUE BOMBERS: If quarterback Ricky Ray gives up on his NFL dream and joins the CFL free-agent derby this winter, why not throw Khari Jones' old paycheque at him and see what happens?

A million over three years would get the guy's attention, don't you think?

VICTORY? It was interesting to watch David Asper, past chairman of the Bombers, rush to send out a press release claiming victory over former CFL commish Michael Lysko yesterday.

Lysko's lawsuit, claiming wrongful dismissal against the league and its governors two years ago, including Asper and Bomber president Lyle Bauer, was dismissed by the Ontario Supreme court this week.

The thing is, the court told Lysko he could re-file a more workable claim, and the fiery former commish intends to do just that.

In other words, it's down over, so Asper's touchdown celebration was a little premature.


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