You might excuse Lions GM Ed Hervey if he foregoes a handshake tonight. After all his hand might be pretty sore following a very busy day in CFL free agency.
It started with the signing of free agency jewel Mike Reilly being reported late last night to a four-year deal worth $2.9 million dollars and it didn’t slow down from there.
Before Day 1 was over they would add the top-ranked national offensive lineman in Sukh Chungh, Lemar Durant, who is potentially the best National receiver available, and Aaron Grymes the all-star DB out of Edmonton.
They followed those up with the signings of DB Josh Woodman, WR Josh Stanford, and DB Chris Edwards.
Head Coach DeVone Claybrooks couldn’t be happier.
“When you sign a free agent quarterback of (Reilly’s) caliber and the other pieces we added today, we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were,” he said.
Claybrooks feels like it won’t just be on the field where his new QB makes his team better.
“As a coach you have to police your guys, but the biggest policing of your guys is the self-policin ,” he said. “When you have a guy that’s the first man in and the last one out, and leads by example, it’s tough for a guy just making his bones and trying to get known in the league not to follow suit.”
Sukh Chungh exemplifies the type of team that Claybrooks wants to become.
“He brings physicality, nastiness, and toughness. We want to be known as a very tough, grimey and gritty team,” Claybrooks said.
Claybrooks says some of his tendencies towards Chungh will have to change however.
“I always used to complain about ‘He’s late on the pile! and now I’m like ‘Make sure you finsh doing the play!'” he laughed.
Speaking of grimy, Aaron Grymes joins the club.
“Ed was very familiar with him,” Claybrooks said. “He knew that he would give us trouble when I was in Calgary. He has great football acumen and a great football IQ.”
Reilly, Grimes, and Chung signify a culture shift for the Lions.
“The common denominator for all three of these guys is not just that they are upper echelon in terms of their positions, but they are also good people and you want good people in your locker room. You want the guys who are going to work hard and lead by example.”
Claybrooks was well aware of what was happening in the rest of the division today as well, noting that it hasn’t gotten any easier for him as a rookie head coach.
“It’s gonna be a dog fight.” he said adding, “There are no gimme’s in the West. Every week you have to bring your game. If you don’t you are gonna be on the outside looking in.”
The shift from Wally’s team to Ed’s continues tomorrow as it is rumoured that the Lions have also locked up free agent wideout Duron Carter.