Eric Rogers’ season has ended before it even began.
Rogers, the CFL’s leading receiver last year with Calgary, suffered a season-ending knee injury at the San Francisco 49ers’ training camp. Rogers, 25, torn his anterior cruciate ligament during a non-contact kickoff coverage drill Thursday.
The six-foot-three, 210-pound Rogers had 87 catches for 1,448 yards and 10 TDs last season with the Stampeders and was making progress in his quest to crack the 49ers’ roster as their No. 3 receiver
“It’s a real big blow for him,” 49ers head coach Chip Kelly told reporters Friday. “He was doing a great job for us.
“I really feel for him. He has transitioned from the CFL and had a great spring for us and was really pushing here during camp.”
Rogers signed a two-year, US$1.19-million deal this off-season with the 49ers, who guaranteed Rogers US$225,000 ($125,000 signing bonus, $100,000 base salary). That was reportedly the largest guarantee for aCFL player since the Miami Dolphins gave former B.C. Lions star Cameron Wake a $1-million signing bonus in 2008.
This season, Rogers is scheduled to earn a base salary of $450,000 that would increase to $540,000 in 2017. His deal is also said to include an additional $75,000 in bonuses.
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: For Bo Levi Mitchell and the Calgary Stampeders, there’s really no place like home.
Calgary improved to 3-0 at McMahon Stadium with its 35-15 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday night. That’s certainly impressive considering road teams have dominated this year, posting a 16-10-1 record heading into action Saturday night when the Ottawa Redblacks entertain the Edmonton Eskimos.
The Stampeders (4-1-1) remain atop the West Division standings, one point ahead of B.C. (4-2). They not only boast the CFL’s best record but its longest unbeaten streak at five games and have won three straight.
The Lions kept pace Thursday with a 38-18 road victory over the Montreal Alouettes.
Mitchell was instrumental in the victory, completing 25-of-37 passes for 312 yards and a TD. He improved his record as a CFL starter to an impeccable 32-7-1 and has thrown a touchdown pass in 21 straight games to tie retired stars Anthony Calvillo and Doug Flutie for fourth on the all-time list.
Mitchell became the third quarterback this week to surpass the 300-yard passing plateau to continue a league-wide trend. CFL quarterbacks have thrown for 300 or more yards in a game 27 times through as many regular-season contests.
Last year, there were only 40 games of 300-plus passing yards.
And on Saturday night, Edmonton’s Mike Reilly will attempt to register a ninth straight game of 300-plus passing yards, which would tie the CFL record currently shared by Sam Etcheverry and Hamilton head coach Kent Austin.
GETTING THEIR KICKS: CFL kickers appear to be getting back into the groove.
After some early-season struggles, kickers have converted 18-of-22 attempts this week (82 per cent) after making 23-of-25 tries (92 per cent) last week. Calgary’s Rene Parades made all five of his field goals versus Saskatchewan while John Mark _ replacing injured Tyler Crapigna _ was 4 of 5 for the Riders.
B.C.’s Richie Leone also booted five field goals this week, converting on 5-of-7 attempts versus Montreal.
But one kicker on very thin ice is Montreal’s Boris Bede. The former Laval star has struggled mightily this year, hitting just 7-of-16 attempts after making 36-of-40 tries in 2015 as a rookie.
The six-foot-four, 225-pound Bede missed from 38 yards out versus B.C. before making a 17-yard attempt. He also had a 33.5-yard average on four punts and was flagged for an illegal boot.
“We’ve given him every opportunity to work out the kinks,” head coach/GM Jim Popp told reporters. “It’s unfortunate. He has tried working through it.
“But at this point we’ve probably got to try something else.”
CAREER MILESTONES: Montreal Alouettes receiver Nik Lewis and B.C. Lions defensive back Ryan Phillips celebrated CFL milestones Thursday night.
The veteran players both played in their 200th CFL game in the Lions 38-18 road win. Lewis had four catches for 29 yards to boost his career total to 12,368 yards and move past Hall of Famer Don Narcisse into eighth all-time.