Brendan Taman called it the strangest day of his 20-year CFL career.
He's got that right.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM tried to trade struggling defensive end Tom Canada to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for all-star middle linebacker Zeke Moreno yesterday -- and he technically did -- but by 9 o'clock last night the trade was off.
Canada, who balked at the trade and likely wasn't going to report to the Ticats, went to the hospital on his own last night around supper time because he wasn't feeling well.
What Canada learned was that he likely has a ruptured spleen. That killed the trade and will likely end his season.
"Odds are Tom's rights will revert back to us," Taman said, "and it's very likely he'll go on the nine-game (injured list)."
Taman also admitted that he's not sure what the whole situation means for Canada's future with the Bombers.
"Where does he go in 2009?" Taman asked. "To be determined."
The Bombers were also going to send the rights to Corey Mace, a Canadian defensive tackle currently on the Buffalo Bills practice roster, to Hamilton for a conditional draft pick.
The trade had already been registered with the league and would have been legally binding even if Canada had not reported to the Ticats, but Taman would not, in good faith, make the Ticats accept the injured 28-year-old.
That's just not how business is done in the CFL, Taman said, but added he would have compensated the Ticats had Canada not shown up in Steeltown.
Even more odd? Moreno had already flown to Winnipeg last night and was preparing for what was supposed to be his first practice with his new team today.
"This is the most biazare thing I've ever accomplished in my 20-year history in this league, punter stubbing his toe included," Taman said.
The Bomber GM said he expected to be up all night with Ticats GM Bob O'Billovich, trying to work out a new trade that would keep Moreno with the Bombers. If they can't work something out, Moreno will be on a 10 a.m., flight back to Hamilton today.
Taman said he was going to do everything in his power to keep Moreno in Blue and Gold.
"After you've been traded by a team, it's not rewarding to go back to them," Taman said.
Canada's agent, Paul Sheehy, said his client was understandably frazzled after the wildest 12 hours of his pro career.
"He's good and just confused about the whole thing," Sheehy said from Denver. "What a day."
Sheehy pointed out that it's going to be tough if both Canada and Moreno end up returning to their original clubs.
"It's awkward for both of them," Sheehy said. "You've got two CFL all-stars who neither team wants them, they try to dish them, and now they can't.
"So now they have to go back to their old team, who they know wanted to get rid of them. That's just a very awkward situation for everyone involved."
The Bombers, who traded running back Charles Roberts to the B.C. Lions for Joe Smith last Monday, attempted to complete their second blockbuster trade in as many weeks for two reasons: to unload a struggling Canada and to acquire a middle linebacker after Joe Lobendahn went down with a knee injury in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Bombers at least have someone to replace Canada, as they signed defensive end/linebacker Kai Ellis yesterday to shore up their defensive depth.
Canada has struggled this season, registering just three sacks in 10 games despite being one of Taman's key off-season re-signings.
"You can't be a fifth-year guy and have the kind of contract I have and put up the numbers I have and not expect something to happen," Canada said yesterday afternoon.
"I haven't played well at all. I haven't played up to the standards I've set for myself the last four years. I don't disagree with how they've felt about my play."