J.C. Sherritt leaving the Esks for the Stamps is sad and weird and super smart

So former Edmonton Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt has joined the Calgary Stampeders as their new linebackers coach and not every Esks fan handled the news well – and with good reason.

Here’s a quick sample:


And there were plenty more where those came from.

There’s plenty of blame to go around here, if that’s your inclination. The CFL’s new football operations salary cap limits coaching staffs to 11 and the Eskimos had already finalized their group by the time Sherritt announced his retirement. Without the cap, it’s not hard to imagine the Esks finding a role for Sherritt on the staff and having a feel-good story of their own to sell in the off-season. This football ops cap has drawn plenty of criticism – Chris Jones sends his love from Cleveland – and this feels like one of those unintended consequences.

That said, it sure sounds like the Esks knew Sherritt was thinking of calling it quits and given the role he played while recovering from a torn Achilles – by all accounts a coach-in-training – it might have made sense to check in on him before putting the entire staff together. And the fit should have been fine: Sherritt played for new defensive coordinator Phillip Lolley when he was linebackers coach under Jones: they have matching rings.

The Eskimo faithful seem like a group on edge these days. Between not making the playoffs, electing to keep head coach Jason Maas and the pending free agency of quarterback Mike Reilly – and the tweets are going to be unprintable if he leaves – general manager Brock Sunderland’s seat might be starting to get a little warm. This fan base has already watched a franchise guy leave town – though Ricky Ray was shipped out – and they wandered around in quarterback purgatory until Reilly came along. They’ve seen this movie before and they don’t like the ending.

The fact that Sherritt went to Calgary puts a little spicy BBQ rub into the wound as well. Not only are the Stamps the hated division rivals but everything John Hufnagel touches seems to turn to football gold (or a silver trophy.) If Huf and head coach Dave Dickenson see something in Sherritt… well, they’ve been pretty good at this stuff so far. Isn’t it interesting that the Stamps just happened to have a spot left just in case something interesting came along?

Anyway, Sherritt is one of the universally respected guys in the CFL and the right response is to be happy for a guy who clearly loves the game and the league. We’ll just have to get used to seeing him in Calgary colours on the sidelines.

Or not.

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