It took a little longer than expected, but the Ticats finally announced their final roster cuts this morning and the list of players let go does not come as a huge surprise.
The Ticats outright released 12 players: defensive backs Nick Brassell, Antoine Lewis and Julian Posey; linebacker Serderius Bryant; defensive linemen Sean Daniels, Martin Pesek, Paul Hazel and Sam Scott; receivers Daniel English and Seydou Junior Haidara; fullback Preston Huggins; and offensive lineman Carson Rockhill.
While none of the released players are really much of a surprise, the biggest one might be Haidara. The Ticats brought him in after Spencer Watt was lost for the season in May with an Achilles injury and the former BC Lion was expected to provide depth behind fellow Canuck Andy Fanuz. But the emergence of fellow Canadian receiver Matt Coates, who played brilliantly during preseason, made Haidara expendable.
The team also added 10 players to their practice roster: receivers Jasper Collins and Tim Smith; defensive linemen Everett Ellefson, Stephen Mawa and Everton Williams; defensive backs Bobby Felder and Donald Washington; running backs Michael Ford and Ray Holley; and linebacker Dan Molls.
Holley making the team is no big surprise, but starting the season off on the practice roster is. The injuries to C.J. Gable and Mossis Madu leaves Nic Grigsby as the lone tailback on Hamilton’s game-day roster for Week 1 now that Holley finds himself on the practice roster. It is possible that the team could pull him off, but it is doubtful they will do that in Week 1. That means that Grigsby will be the only running back on Hamilton’s opening week roster.
The Ticats also put 11 players on the one-game injured list, meaning they will not play against the Calgary Stampeders on Friday, and another three on the six-game injured list. Of the guys on the one-game list, the biggest names are Luke Tasker, C.J. Gable, Rico Murray and Joel Figueroa. Taker being out hurts, but the unsurprising spectacular play of Bakari Grant this preseason makes the loss of No. 17 easier to swallow. Gable and Murray being out is no big shock; Murray has not practiced in forever and missed both preseason games due to injury, while it has been known for some time that Gable would miss up to four weeks with a hand injury. The loss of Figueroa means that a combination of Jake Olson, Jeremy Lewis and Brian Simmons will be the starting tackles against the Stampeders.
The other seven on the one-game list are Giovanni Aprile, David Caldwell, Jeremiah Masoli, Quincy McDuffie, Landon Rice, Adrian Tracy and Anthony Woodson, while Evan Gill, Antonio Coleman and Kyle Miller will all miss the first third of the CFL season.
For better or worse, we now know just what the roster will look like in five days when the Ticats open the season against the defending Grey Cup champions.