OTTAWA - Plenty of football folks want to be the first GM for Ottawa's CFL team.
But so far, one of the guys thought to be among those burning up Jeff Hunt's phone line, Eric Tillman, hasn't sent in his resume or even called.
“I've been hearing from people here and there for the last couple of years. But since we got certainty (that the Lansdowne Park redevelopment had the green light), we've got at least six or seven respectable resumes — from guys currently in the league to guys recently out of the league to guys who have never been in the league, American types who would look to an opportunity to come to Canada,” said Hunt, from the Ottawa Sports Entertainment Group. “We've been kind of getting a potpourri of applicants.
“I expect while there may still be some activity between now and the Grey Cup, it'll heat up after the Grey Cup when their seasons are over. And we certainly think there are some people worth talking to in the NFL. Of course, their season goes even longer. That's why we have to wait until both seasons are over until we make any final decision.”
It makes sense that there will be some solid applicants from within the CFL.
“Part of our expansion draft agreement is we are allowed to talk to anyone in the CFL where our job would constitute a promotion,” said Hunt. “If you're an assistant GM in the CFL and the GM that's ahead of you has a long-term contract and it's your ambition to be a GM, Ottawa constitutes a great opportunity.
“It would be preferable to have someone who's been around the CFL for a while, someone who knows the players and knows the league. With our expansion draft being the most significant tool we have to build our team, a guy currently in the CFL would have great knowledge and that would be a great asset.”
A goal is to have a GM in place by February.
“More than anything, our general manager for the next year, his biggest role will be scouting,” said Hunt. “The scouting season really begins late March. We do have a scout (Rick Worman) already in place, but he's only one guy.
“The No. 1 quality we're looking for is personnel. Every team in football needs to have a GM with a strong personnel background, I believe. It's even more acute in an expansion franchise model when you have no players. The most important thing we're going to do in the next 15-20 months is build a team from scratch.”
Hunt has embraced thinking about football-related things like coming up with a team name and finding a GM after enduring a lengthy string of delays in getting the Lansdowne project off the ground.
“I can just say, Hallelujah,” he said. “This is a lot more interesting for all of us than the things we've had to talk about over the last five years. To be honest, I was sick of talking about it and I think the fans were sick of hearing about it.
“This is the kind of thing I've been waiting to do for five years.”