Oh, baby! Family comes first for CFLers

IAN BUSBY, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Quite often football teams refer to themselves as families, but team always comes second to the real family when there are new arrivals to the clan.

All that the expectant fathers — players and coaches — can do when a baby is due is to come up with contingency plans so they can go to work and still be present at the birth.

Over the past few weeks, two players — Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Chris Davis and Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Miguel Robede — missed games to be with their girlfriends for the big moment.

Stampeders linebacker Keon Raymond was lucky that his fourth child, a girl to join three older brothers, arrived the day after a home game.

If baby planning was easier, clearly football families would shoot for off-season births. Usually it’s only players who are starting families, but Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice is still a young man, and his wife Tina is due Oct. 10.

LaPolice had travel plans in place if his wife went in labour while the team was in Vancouver for a road game Saturday with the B.C. Lions.

The Bombers play at home Oct. 11 against the Lions, so LaPolice has to hope it doesn’t happen in the three-hour window between kickoff and final gun.

“If it gets that close, I’ll probably be at the game,” LaPolice said when asked if the call came right before kickoff. “Her family’s here (in Winnipeg). We don’t envision that happening.”

Opening drive

Montreal Alouettes receivers S.J. Green and Jamel Richardson look so much alike on the field due to their lanky bodies and numbers (19 and 18) that sometimes even they themselves can’t tell the difference. “Even we get confused,” Green said. “Sometimes we are watching film and we ask, ‘Is that you or is that me?’ ” The twins have a nose for the endzone. Green has 10 TDs in limited action, while Richardson has six … Four of the CFL head coaches are former Saskatchewan Roughriders assistants. Two of them face each other again this week — the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ Marcel Bellefeuille and the Edmonton Eskimos’ Richie Hall — while the others are LaPolice and the Riders’ Ken Miller … The Tiger-Cats may have saved money by locking up SB Dave Stala now instead of waiting until he wins the East Division most outstanding Canadian honour. To further prove his value, the Ticats offence went cold against the Eskimos after S Elliott Richardson drilled Stala and forced the receiver out with whiplash.

Endzone toss

Kudos to CFL statistician Steve Daniel for taking care of the yards-after-catch stat this season. The record for most YACs in a single game goes to Bombers WR Greg Carr for his 133-yard effort in his debut a week ago. Stamps

SB Nik Lewis leads the league in that category … Strangest play you might ever see — Ticats LB Jamall Johnson ran out of bounds on punt coverage for 25 yards behind the Eskimos standing on the sideline and then returned to drill

KR Tristan Jackson. Johnson was flagged for illegal participation, of course, and shook himself up with the devastating hit … Hard to believe but Riders SB Andy Fantuz has finally hit the 1,000-yard barrier in what is already his fifth season. Folks in Regina have long thought Fantuz would win most outstanding Canadian if he played a full year, and they are probably right.

Extra points

The Als’ 25-point loss to the Stamps was the club’s worst defeat since losing 46-14 Aug. 31, 2007, in B.C. … While the Bombers are now 0-6 in games decided by four points or less, the Argos are 5-1 in that category. It’s the difference between the playoffs and staying home in November … The Bombers will go more than a year without a road win. Their last one was Oct. 12, 2009, and their next road game is Oct. 17 in Montreal. The franchise-longest road winless streak is 13 and the current one is eight … The Stamps are on pace to have three 1,000-yard receivers this season (Lewis, Romby Bryant and Ken-Yon Rambo), which would be a first for that franchise since 2000.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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