Cut down day claims several vets

For the second time in just over three months, Eric Taylor finds himself looking for a job.

The veteran defensive tackle was among the Calgary Stampeders final cuts Saturday as CFL teams reduced their rosters to 46 players to begin the 2015 season. Taylor, 33, signed with the defending Grey Cup champions in March after being released by the B.C. Lions.

CFL teams had until 10 p.m. ET to finalize their rosters.

Taylor wasn’t the only veteran let go by the Stampeders. Also released defensive lineman DeMonte Bolden and defensive back Lin-J Shell, who both were members of last year’s Grey Cup-winning squad.

“It was a difficult day,” Calgary head coach/GM John Hufnagel told reporters Saturday. “We had a lot of good football players in the room and right now we don’t have as many good football players in the room.

“That’s just the nature of the business we’re in. It was a very competitive training camp, I was very pleased the way everyone competed but you can only keep so many people.”

Hufnagel said releasing players like Bolden and Shell who helped Calgary win last year’s Grey Cup was especially tough.

“They’re good football players,” he said. “They know they’re good football players and I would expect them to be playing football before the year is over, maybe even (in) red and white.

“It’s just decisions I had to make as of (Saturday).”

Running back Brandon Whitaker, defensive back Geoff Tisdale and defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell, all former CFL starters, were let go by the Montreal Alouettes.

Taylor was a seventh-round pick of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 out of Memphis. He also spent time with Minnesota, Seattle and Tennessee before coming north to sign with the Edmonton Eskimos in ’08.

Taylor was dealt to Toronto in February 2010 and played one season for the Argos before signing with B.C. as a free agent. Over four seasons with the Lions, he amassed 107 tackles and 13 sacks in 57 regular-season games and earned a Grey Cup ring.

The six-foot-five, 290-pound Bolden came back from a broken leg to play in Calgary’s 20-16 Grey Cup victory over Hamilton last November at B.C. Place Stadium. Bolden, 29, began his CFL career in 2009 with Hamilton before joining the Stampeders in 2011.

Calgary’s decision obviously caught Bolden by surprise. “Speechless,” was all he said on his official Twitter account afterwards.

Last season was Shell’s first in Calgary and the 33-year-old recorded 24 tackles and two sacks. The five-foot-11, 180-pound defensive back began his CFL career in Toronto in 2009 and also played for B.C. (2012-’13) before joining the Stampeders and has amassed 304 tackles, 10 sacks and eight interceptions over his tenure in Canada.

Calgary opens the regular season Friday night hosting Hamilton in a Grey Cup rematch.

Mitchell, 30, signed a three-year deal with Montreal in the off-season but got himself into hot water with posts on Twitter regarding the Holocaust. That resulted in fines from both the CFL and Alouettes.

Mitchell had two tackles, a sack and forced fumble in two exhibition games with Montreal. Over five seasons with B.C. and Toronto, Mitchell registered 95 tackles and 14 sacks and also won a Grey Cup in 2011 with the Lions.

Whitaker, 29, spent seven seasons with Montreal and was a CFL all-star in 2011 when he ran for a league-best 1,381 yards. The former Baylor Bear was also a member of two Grey Cup-winning teams.

Tisdale, 29, is also a seven-year veteran, having played for Hamilton (2008-’10, 2012) and Calgary (2011) before joining Montreal in 2013. Tidsale finished tied for third in the CFL last season with five interceptions.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders released 26 players, including offensive lineman Gord Hinse and defensive back Paul Waldu, both CFL veterans. Receiver Scott McHenry was one of four Riders starting the season on the six-game injured list.

The six-foot-four, 305-pound Hinse, a 27-year-old Edmonton native, was in his first season with Saskatchewan but seventh in the CFL after playing previously with the Eskimos and Winnipeg. Waldu, 30, of Regina, began his career with Montreal (2008-’11) before joining the Riders in 2012 and is a three-time Grey Cup champion.

Rookie running back Carlos Anderson, who had a 93-yard punt return TD in Winnipeg’s opening 34-27 exhibition win over Toronto, was among 10 players released by the Bombers. Also let go were former Hamilton offensive lineman Marc Dile and rookie receiver Jordan Reaves, the son of former Bombers star tailback Willard Reaves.

Quarterback Justin Goltz, receiver Paris Jackson and offensive lineman Brian Ramsay, all CFL veterans, were among Edmonton’s final cuts. The Eskimos also placed receiver Shamawd Chambers and offensive lineman Simeon Rottier (both Canadians) and running back John White on the six-game injured list.

Receiver Brad Sinopoli, signed this off-season by Ottawa as a free agent after spending his first two seasons in Calgary, will open the season on the disabled list. Sinopoli was a Hec Crighton Trophy-winning quarterback at the University of Ottawa before going in the fourth round of the ’11 CFL draft to the Stampeders.

Linebacker Matt Ware, a starter last year, was among 13 players released by the Toronto Argonauts. Prior to coming to the CFL last season, the six-foot-three, 218-pound Ware played seven NFL seasons with Philadelphia and Arizona, making a Super Bowl appearance with both squads.

– CP