The biggest player snubs of CFL Week

The league is bringing almost 60 players to its inaugural CFL Week, the new fan and media event being held in Regina starting on Tuesday. And while all the usual suspects will be in attendance – the starting quarterback from every team is coming – there are a few notable omissions.

The players were selected, according to a CFL spokesperson, after discussions between the league, the teams and television rights holder TSN. Every player who was invited is showing up – yet another testament to the willingness of the league’s stars to do their part in promoting the game.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have the most players in attendance with nine and that makes sense, given that the event is taking place in football-mad Regina. The CFL certainly doesn’t need to drum up more support for the game in Riderville – it’s already one of the best and most rabid fan bases – but by doing so, they’ve lowered the degree of difficulty significantly. After a Grey Cup week in Toronto that failed to move the needle in any way (with the exception of a spectacular game) the league can hardly afford another dud.

The Montreal Alouettes have eight players going, including former Rider quarterback Darian Durant who was traded this off-season – his return will be a storyline to be sure – but the decision to omit active sack leader John Bowman certainly qualifies as something of a snub. It wasn’t lost on the 34-year veteran, who took to Twitter to take what could be a veiled shot at Durant.

Maver was poking fun at himself for his lack of invite but also raising an interesting issue: there isn’t a single kicker or punter invited. While they may not be “stars” in the conventional sense, kicking is still a huge part of the Canadian game and a player like Winnipeg’s Justin Medlock is certainly well known to fans.

There are a few other glaring omissions. There are just 12 national players on the league’s list – a shockingly low number given that Canadian players make up close to half of all rosters and it’s, you know, the “Canadian” football league. Veteran Canadian receiver Andy Fantuz wasn’t invited and while he’s currently a free agent and recovering from knee surgery, two other injured receivers – B.C.’s Chris Williams and Montreal’s S.J Green – made the cut.

Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton, an up and coming national star, is paying his own way to see his younger brother compete in the combine, which is also being held this week. B.C. receiver Shawn Gore – the team’s top Canadian last season – wasn’t invited nor was Edmonton pass catcher Shamawd Chambers or linebacker Cory Greenwood. The Argos, meanwhile, are bringing Canadian receiver Brian Jones, who has 12 catches for his career.

Much of the league’s Canadian content comes from the big boys up front and there is just one offensive lineman invited to this week’s festivities: American Derek Dennis. That the CFL has chosen to completely ignore national players at this position – and there are some interesting people and colourful characters – is perhaps the biggest oversight of the week.

Defensive backs didn’t get much love either with just two Canadian safeties making the cut with not a single American making the trip.

Three teams have relatively small contingents with just five players each: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (who didn’t bring receiver Darvin Adams) the Calgary Stampeders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Among the Ticats, return man Brandon Banks is something of a notable absence as is defensive end John Chick, an all-star last season and a guy with plenty of Saskatchewan connections.

CFL Week is the league’s latest attempt to make some noise during its long off-season and the idea has plenty of potential. Making sure a full cross section of players from every position are included – and a few more Canadians – is something they should consider in the future.

Note: Be sure to check out for full coverage of CFL Week, including interviews, videos and podcasts.

The players invited to CFL Week

B.C. Lions (6)

Emmanuel Arceneaux
Bryan Burnham
Solomon Elimimian
Chris Rainey
Chris Williams
Jonathon Jennings

Calgary Stampeders (5)

DaVaris Daniels
Jerome Messam
Bo Levi Mitchell
Charleston Hughes
Marquay McDaniel

Edmonton Eskimos (6)

Almondo Sewell
Mike Reilly
John White
Adarius Bowman
J.C. Sherritt
Odell Willis

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5)

Taylor Loffler
Andrew Harris
Jamaal Westerman
Matt Nichols
Weston Dressler

Saskatchewan Roughriders (9)

Rob Bagg
Chad Owens
Willie Jefferson
Henoc Muamba
Kevin Glenn
Duron Carter
Derek Dennis
Naaman Roosevelt

Montreal Alouettes (8)

Sam Giguère
Ernest Jackson
Tyrell Sutton
Bear Woods
Darian Durant
S.J. Green
Nik Lewis
Stefan Logan

Toronto Argonauts (7)

Shawn Lemon
Winston Venable
Anthony Coombs
Ricky Ray
Jeff Fuller
Brian Jones
Drew Willy

Ottawa Redblacks (6)

Brad Sinopoli
Diontae Spencer
Greg Ellingson,
Antoine Pruneau
Trevor Harris
Kenny Shaw

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5)

Simoni Lawrence
Terrence Toliver
Luke Tasker
Zach Collaros
Ted Laurent

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1397 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

22 Comments on The biggest player snubs of CFL Week

  1. Mike S-K // March 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm //

    Matt Nichols listed with the Eskimos and Bombers…? Wonder if you’ve got an old Roster sheet there, Drew? 😉

    • Once again the cfl has failed to related to young Canadians … where are all the Canadians? Nobody knows the American guys unless you are a die hard cfl fan but a lot of kids relate to players that grew up in their communities, etc… the cfl has never tried marketing Canadian players for the Canadian game… why would it, clearly they have cornered the younger generation already anyway lol

  2. I get inviting a few more Rider players but the other teams should be equally represented and CANADIANS should make up HALF (or very close to 50%) of the players invited. I imagine that there are some players who maybe would not be able to attend due to off season commitments but at least TRY to even the representation. Just my 2 cents worth.

  3. Lindsay Wilcox // March 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm //

    They chose …poorly. Few Canadians, and the exclusion of 2 of the league’s best – Fantuz and Banks – make this beyond laughable.

    • Riderontheisland // March 20, 2017 at 4:59 pm //

      Fantuz hasn’t been one of the leagues best since he was with the Riders. Sorry I couldn’t resist.

      • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 9:54 pm //

        yet since leaving he’s never been happier

        • You are doing it again Stampland. Stop with the nasty shots. I also suspect you are wrong. His best years were with the Riders. He wanted to be closer to home. But he was never as good once he became a tiger cat.

    • Will agree on Andy but pass on Banks. He needs to get his head out of his you know what and focus on football. That’s why I think it’s imperative for the TC’s to sign Sinkfield if Banks’ trajectory continues south.

  4. Schmenger // March 20, 2017 at 5:48 pm //

    So this is Canadian football right….. the selection process needs work.

  5. Schmenger // March 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm //

    Rider on the island…. you must have missed last year’s performance.

  6. Why invite Fantuz – perrenial injury

  7. So what exactly do these players do during CFL week?

  8. CFL week, perfect fit for the riders in regina. They have the best franchise and the best fans so this showcase will be outstanding in that venue.

  9. This is just one more screw up to add to Commissioner Orridge’s resume… bad refereeing, bad video replay, over priced and under marketed Grey Cup and now this…

    Just how incompetent does one have to be before the CFL governors decide a change is required???

  10. Lots of whiners here, but the fact that this is a story at all – at a time of year when no one normally talks about the CFL – means Orridge is doing his job.

  11. All 3downnation articles of this event are negative.
    It’s a first year event. It will get better in time.

  12. This is a ridiculous article. This is a fan driven event. Fans want to see the stars of the league and while O-Lineman and Defensive backs play a huge part in the team, they aren’t the attractive names. Why would you want to go see Rob Maver, Alex Singleton or John Bowman when they can meet Bo-Levi, Ernest Jackson, Chris Williams, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Simoni Lawrence or Nik Lewis? When the NFL does a big media rollout do you see the O-Lineman doing press or guys like Aaron Rodgers or Odell Beckham? Quit complaining and enjoy it for what it is. Fans and media have this attitude with the CFL where we should just complain non-stop about everything the league does instead of enjoy the good things they do.

  13. JsBODEEN redblacks // March 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm //

    Pretty impressive guest list I think….more Canadians would be about some retired stars.there always a hit with fans..are the head coaches there?

  14. Jim Fleck // March 25, 2017 at 10:33 pm //

    Many deserving plays from all teams could of been there. Can’t take em all or keep them all on cut down day as they say. Hopefully as this event evolves every year the CFL will rotate the guys on each team so many get to enjoy this great event year after year.

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