Ticats soap opera takes a couple of new twists

As soap operas go, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats may be the best thing going.

Thursday’s episode featured the departure of their second-leading tackler and budding bad boy Will Hill, who had started every game on defence this season – except for the one where he was suspended for gabbing an official – as well as comments from recently fired defensive coordinator Jeff Reinebold alleging “disloyalty” from members of the organization.

Ticat head coach Kent Austin – the show’s beleaguered leading man – didn’t want to get into the specifics surrounding the circumstances of Hill’s departure but alluded to issues with his attitude and commitment.

“We want guys that understand what it means to be a teammate and to play in a team sport,” Austin said.

Hill signed in Canada after being suspended by the NFL four times for violating both the performance enhancing and substance abuse guidelines. Sources close to the team said Hill was routinely late or missed meetings while others referred to him as a “cancer.” His decision to walk off the practice field on Wednesday was likely the last straw.

“We want guys on our team that understand that they need to have a role that’s given to them… to show up at practice and to practice, to do everything that the coaches ask them to do,” Austin said. “When there is a pattern of behaviour that betrays that, then they’ve demonstrated that they can’t be a team guy.”

Meanwhile, Reinebold made his first public comments in the wake of his departure from the team earlier this week on Inside the Huddle, the NFL-themed podcast he co-hosts for SkySports. Austin, replaced Reinebold with linebackers’ coach Phillip Lolley after the team gave up an average of 39 points a game while starting 0-6.

“When you go through these things you find out a tremendous amount about loyalty. You wonder why guys don’t take jobs unless they have only their guys in place with them? For reasons like this. When it gets tough, and it always gets tough, if the guys are bound together you can weather it better than when guys are starting to feel like ‘Oh my God, the ship’s sinking and I better see how I can get on one of the lifeboats,’” Reinebold said. “Disloyalty comes in a lot of fashions. It can be not doing something the way it needs to get done, continuously. That’s the same thing as saying ‘I’m not going to do it your way.’ There’s also the more blatant form of disloyalty which is guys cutting side room deals.”

Reinebold said he was surprised by the decision, which came after a tough two-game West Division road trip in which they were beaten 60-1 by the Calgary Stampeders – the second-worst loss in team history – then fell 33-28 in Edmonton last Friday, a furious fourth-quarter rally falling just short.

“Every situation is unique but the thing that took me by surprise was that there were no conversations previous, there was no the head coach calls you in and asks ‘what are you doing on third down?’, or ‘I don’t like what you’re doing here, you’re blitzing too much, you’re not blitzing enough.’ There was none of that,” Reinebold said. “It was just a blind-sided – I got a text at 5:30 in the morning to meet the head coach at 9, I walked in and he told me what he was doing and that was the end of it.”

Austin, who said he hadn’t listened to Reinebold’s comments, dismissed his charge that any of the coaches on the Ticats’ staff had undercut the former defensive coordinator in any way.

“Jeff has been a valued member of our club. There have been extreme amounts of loyalty given: if there’s anybody who’s loyal to his coaches, it’s the guy you’re looking at right now,” Austin said. “We don’t have other coaches that undermine other coaches on the staff. I’ve never experienced or witnessed that with these guys. If I had, they wouldn’t be here.”

While Austin said the door remained open for a possible return – Reinebold has been offered a job working with new assistant head coach June Jones, with whom he has worked in the past – it doesn’t sound as if he’s inclined to take it. Reinebold said he spoke to friends and colleagues around football, including former NFL coordinator Rob Ryan and current Toronto head coach Marc Trestman, about his situation.

“Both of them advised me not to do it. They said it will be too raw. As much as you love the players and your loyalty to June… they said go surfing, go do your job at Sky and take some time to reassess where you are and what you want to do,” Reinebold said. “That’s been the message from everybody. Even June said ‘I want you to stay but I couldn’t do it.’ I think that’s the way it’s going to sort out.”

Of course, with a saga like this, it seems like anything is possible. Stay tuned.

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
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1022 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.

39 Comments on Ticats soap opera takes a couple of new twists

  1. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm //

    Sounds like he’d be a match made in heaven with My Jones

    • See horse….you finally took that leap “My Jones”…good for you buddy. On a serious note – sounds like Hill and Austin had a pi*sing contest and Kent showed him the door. The guy has talent,he won’t sit idle for long

  2. Wise decision to leave especially after his comments. I don’t think he needed to talk to anyone for advice as to what to do as he had already made up his mind in the first place. He just needed to hear from others it was the right thing to do even though he already knew it. Staying would have been toxic.

  3. Well if will hill acted like that then it’s unfortunate but he deserves to get the boot . This team is just a freaking train wreck this year hahahahaha what a circus!

  4. Enjoy the Maui Wowee Reinebold, you’re going to need it.

  5. “and out of the ashes the phoenix shall rise…”

    Many teams will underestimate the Ticats for what’s left of this season… they will become a dangerous opponent…. playing with abandon because there’s nothing to lose…

    • If this woeful TC bunch even win one game I must confess I will be inclined to look up the street and see if I can spot 12 dishevelled men with scraggly hair and tattered clothes led by a man with scraggly hair and beard wearing a robe.

      • I agree with Snake.
        Hopefully the soap opera is over and the team will look back upon two pretty good games against the best team in the league for confidence (?…Eskimos are 7-0) and consider their future schedule:
        Only 4 points out of a home playoff game with 12 games left.
        7 of those are at home.
        7 are against the East.
        Only two road games are outside the Eastern time zone.
        If that isn’t a formula for some second half success, then nothing is.

        • I admire your spirit as a TC fan…I really do. But I have a very difficult time being optimistic. Maybe the East is Least but I can’t see the TC’s beat out any one of those 3 teams for a PO position. And even if by some fluke chance it would happen, how far do you honestly think they would get…seriously?

      • Ticats fans chill // August 12, 2017 at 6:45 am //

        Haha that’s amazing, I needed a laugh rn because I had to wake up a 5:00 this morning to go to work, EARLY SHIFT, man if the ticatz worked as hard as I do, Mabye they would go somewhere and make smarter decisions, cuz this will hill thing is not one of them. Well back to my taxi becuz my stupid porche broke down days ago, I think my porche had the ticatz conditioner (if u know what I’m saying haha) that’s why I have been gone for a couple a days, I’m back to go back to the brigade

  6. It must be true that train wrecks = ratings. More specifically, repackage train wrecks = clicks. How many of these recent Ti-Cats articles are 95+% recycled material from another story on this very site?

    3downnation must be cheering for a complete collapse and a winless season. Ti-Cats turning into just bad means general disinterest and less website traffic.

  7. mrnehnehincognito // August 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm //

    In the east ticats have as good shot as anyone for playoffs

    • Which is why things need to be changed when it comes to divisions pathetic how this team could still make the playoffs and even host a game and the western team that crosses will have a better record bush league

      • Hey Stumpy, I can remember the 80’s when your team sucked so bad they hold the distinction of being the only CFL team to not have won a SINGLE playoff game in that decade. Matter of fact you Stump fans had to hold a “Save Our Stumps” (LOL!) campaign as your team was on the brink of doing an el foldo. Then you got lucky because Wally came along and saved your ass. Now it’s other team’s turn to be pathetic…circle of life…dig?

        • White Horse // August 11, 2017 at 4:41 pm //

          How true you are Philski. I sat in the stands through those Stampeder loser years. It seemed like it would never change. You are correct. Wally saved our lives. Along came Larry Rykmann and Doug Flute.

          • Yeah, must have been hard for you I’m sure…especially if you are a diehard fan. I remember the TC dark days of the 90’s…swearing like this team was cursed or something. When I think of guys like Todd Dillon at QB I still shudder. You guys turned it around quite admirably…hopefully we do too…sigh.

    • Absolutely!
      Austin has often said that if there is a “pattern of behaviour” that is detrimental to the team then players wouldn’t be here. Too bad that a talent like Hill couldn’t get his act together but better to cut him now so that they can get back on track than to keep him on and have further disruption.
      Reinebold is obviously speaking about his dismissal before he’s had time to come to grips with it. His perspective is naturally going to put himself in a favourable light. Guess we’ll see how effective the D is under Lolley.

  8. Apparently Hill is like Duron Carter… long on talent but short on brains…

    Expect to see him in Saskatchewan soon…

  9. Good riddance to this troublemaker. Good on Austin for showing that he wont tolerate such defiance.

    • Cfl know it all // August 12, 2017 at 6:53 am //

      Yeah good bye our future, goodbye the nfl vet and goodbye to our season. Ari Katz, if u think we don’t need him, if u think that this is not a loss, if u think that hill does not have a right to call out collaros in practice, then you’re stupid, if I had I chance I would call out COLLAROS too, making more money then an nfl vet in a below his lvl league. RIP THE D

      • Did you miss the part where he is late for meetings or missed meetings completely? Sure, sounds like a team player that just cares about winning.

  10. Watching Redblacks vs Eskimos and wondering why we let Quincey McDuffie get away… this guy has more game than the late Speedy B…

    • First time he returned a punt he ran it back for a TD. Think it was against the HankBlacks at McMaster. Then he got hurt and basically that was the end of him as a TC.

  11. Bob – you are a good owner for Hamilton and the CFL
    But
    You need to step in and settle the house down – check and recheck your scouting group , there is decent Canadian prospects out and waiting for a phone call
    Sorry – but after Austin ran out on Sask , not once but twice and Tillman messed up , those fellas haven’t been the same calibre in the roles they supposedly have expertise in , when coaches leave for other opportunities – sometimes it isn’t to bolster their career , they just want out – as you have witnessed this last off – season
    Signing Fantuz for Phantom team office work , big mistake for perception of the team and leagues – EYES

    • A cardboard cutout of a scout can do a better job than these clowns. Oh how I miss the days of Mike McCarthy.

  12. The Iceman // August 10, 2017 at 9:16 pm //

    Fantuz signing was brilliant. He wants to be here and is a National. By the way he caught 100 passes last season. Blaming anything on signing a 100 catch receiver that hasn’t played is very bizarre IMO.

  13. Shania at half time in the GC. I won’t miss that. Good luck to all teams. About time the head office showcases all the good canadian talent. Kudos.

    Imagine who?

    Go Canada!!

    • Damn, here I thought they were going to bring back the Black Eyed Peas…guess I won’t be going anymore.

  14. the hill thing: this is what you get when you don’t take character into account. hill’s rough ride through the nfl (drugs) and american courts (support) and his unusual family situation* were all red flags that the ticats should have picked up on. kent austin says they want quality ‘men.’ well … they blew it here.
    *by my reckoning: hill is tied for first place among american athletes in children/baby mommas. a john chick he is not!

  15. Terrence Whittaker // August 10, 2017 at 11:24 pm //

    The Ticats just sign a young big talented DE. Chick with his age, salary and declining play will be the next to go.Reineblold talking to Trestman all season? Did we have a mole on our coaching staff or are the Argos just tampering?

  16. The Fat Lady could be heard warming up before this season even began. Too much uncertainty, both players and staff, injury problems, again, and the so call star players just not looking right. Having your opener against the Lions two years in a row is just plain suicide. If the schedule makers try to do it 3 years in a row next season, someone from the TC organization needs to evoke the mercy flag. This once proud organization is slowly slipping into the abyss. Priority seems to be how many over priced hot dogs and beer they can sell as opposed to the quality on the field. 1999 seems like such a long time ago…and only gets longer when you witness what’s out there today.

    • Ticats fans chill // August 12, 2017 at 6:58 am //

      I’m just scrolling threw the blog while sitting in this taxi that has another hr to go till I get to my work, when I realized that nobody appreciates humour, look at philski, he is the most funniest, angriest and truthful man out on this blog, he sure aight no girly man, or bacteria

  17. What really sucks is that I just unstitched #16 from my TC jersey and removed some ABC’s…was going to plaster #1 on there and put on some new ABC’s…but NO…thanks Austin, thanks a lot…now I have a sweater void of both numbers and ABC’s…most likely doomed to remain like that for the unseen future.

    • Ticats fans chill // August 12, 2017 at 7:07 am //

      Hey Philski u said u grew up around these parts, whereabouts did u work? I work all the way in the north side of Barrie, got a good security job out there

      • Sorry, just read your post. I worked at the University of Stelco…then decided that I didn’t want to come home with soot covered lungs for the rest of my life…so I went back to school…got my BA at Mac Attack…headed west because somebody actually wanted to hire me out here. So not out here by choice in LotusLand. So damn expensive. I come back to the Hammer every summer to visit family and friends though…one day will come back again for good. By then I figure TC’s should win at least one game.

  18. Lindsay Wilcox // August 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm //

    We should watch for a bright star in the East (-ern sky). Nope just the Perseid meteor shower, if not washed out by the moon/clouds. Best Hamilton viewing – Mountain Brow between Mohawk and Albion Falls, looking North-East. Up to 20- 50 per hour.

    IMO, Reinebold was referring to new DC, Lolley, re under-mining, etc.

  19. Hearing the comments from JR, I gotta say, I lost some respect for him. Austin was too loyal for too long. Austin should not have promoted him to DC in the first place as he clearly was in over his head. He was blitz happy with zero coverages early on and got torched, as of late he deployed a softer coverage bend but don’t break scheme but the problem was that it broke. The TiCat D will improve with a new DC. From week 1 it was obvious that TiCats D was not in pisition to be successful. Austin could have pulled JR in earlier but veteran coaches who are OC or DC should be able to handle their own X’s and O’s and not need the HC to micro manage them. JR should just shut up , surf , relax and then refocus his coaching career. Special teams or unit coach is all he will ever be offered and if he keeps bad mouthing his former boss, those offers might not come for a long, long time.

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