Tossing pigskins costs players

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

Bobby Singh's excitement over teammate Ryan Thelwell's touchdown on Labour Day was worth at least $75 to the big offensive lineman.

Because Singh took the ball from the Calgary Stampeders receiver and chucked it into the crowd, the CFL club is forced to dock its right guard the cost of the ball.

Such is life in the small-money league: Players don't make that much dough and could easily cut into their earnings by throwing the ball away or keeping it as a souvenir for certain milestones.

Before each game, the equipment manager from the home team supplies 12 new balls to the officials for use. If 12 aren't returned, an 'audit' is done on who is responsible for lost leather.

The visitors will get a bill for any footballs gone missing on their side, and most of the frugal CFL clubs pass the bill on to their athletes.

"It's not as exciting as players make it out to be," said Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins. "We've even had some where the ball makes it back onto the field."

Those are the lucky ones who get spared a $75 deduction off their game cheque.

OPENING DRIVE

A new trend in roster juggling to get under the salary cap will create a few problems for some teams this week. Players put on nine-game injured lists at the start of the season -- so their salary doesn't count against the cap -- are all eligible to return for Game 10. One example is the Toronto Argonauts need to make a decision on a quarterback with Eric Crouch coming off the injured reserve, so Mike McMahon is likely on his way out ... Standing on the sidelines became a danger zone during the Labour Day weekend. First Lions defensive co-ordinator Dave Ritchie was drilled in the shins by WR Paris Jackson. Then Roughriders GM Eric Tillman was nearly road kill when QB Kerry Joseph sprinted through the endzone for the winning TD over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The worst collision was a sideline official getting plastered by Hamilton Tiger-Cats WR JoJo Walker, when he was pushed out of bounds by the Argos' Chuck Winters ... A few great blocks were thrown on Labour Day. Ticats WR Chris Bauman drilled Khalil Carter on Walker's reception, and Stamps QB Henry Burris stuck his shoulder pad into Edmonton Eskimos DL Adam Braidwood to spring RB Joffrey Reynolds free for a first down.

ENDZONE TOSS

The Alouettes are hoping to pay the Lions back for last week's loss in more ways than one. It was no coincidence the Lions scheduled Friday's start for 7:30 p.m. local time -- a half-hour later than usual -- so the Alouettes would be playing at 10:30 p.m. by their body clocks. The Lions have lost only once at home to an Eastern time-zone team since 2002. This week's rematch in Molson Stadium is set for 1 p.m. local time, which translates to 10 a.m. in Vancouver ... The best spark for the Bombers offence this season is a goal-line stand. For the second time in 2007, the defence made a stand before QB Kevin Glenn immediately engineered a 100-plus yard TD drive ... Getting married seemed to jumpstart Argos K Noel Prefontaine. He was 3-for-3 against the Ticats, including a season-long

44-yarder, two days after his wedding.

EXTRA POINTS

Hard to say who was the more impact Canadian on Labour Day: WR Ryan Thelwell for his 199-yard, two-TD performance for the Stamps, or RB Jesse Lumsden sitting out so that the Ticats were easy pickings for the Argos ... Eskimos LB A.J. Gass when asked about life in the basement of the league standings: "At least it's not lonely." That was before the Esks lost on Labour Day ... Congrats to those ex-CFLers who stuck on NFL rosters, including Kenton Keith in Indianapolis, Chris Wilson with Washington, Lawrence Tynes with the Giants. The most intriguing NFL cut was QB Casey Printers, but even if he returns north this season, he won't make an impact until 2008. Let the bidding begin.


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