Monday Mailbag: Martavis Bryant’s suspension, CFL all-star game, replacing Eric Rogers

Last week we launched the 3DownNation Monday Mailbag, which is designed to answer questions from readers across the country.

You can submit a question via email ([email protected]) or direct message on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

On email, please type “Monday Mailbag” into the subject line. On social media, please start your message with the words “3DownNation Monday Mailbag.” This really helps us manage the messages we get.

Please note that by sending us a question you are giving us the right to publish it along with your name. Questions may be lightly edited for spelling and/or formatting.

We’ve answered a handful of questions below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.

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Can you explain how Martavis Bryant was able to sign in the CFL despite being suspended by the NFL? Is there not a rule against that?

[email protected]

Great question. There’s a lot of confusion around this issue.

After the 2006 season, then-CFL commissioner Tom Wright wanted to prevent teams from signing suspended NFL players following the Ricky Williams fiasco.

I’m not sure whether or not a rule was ever formally adopted, but I know it no longer exists. CFL teams are still unable to sign players who are under contract with the NFL — or any other professional football league, I believe — but suspensions are fine.

Bryant was released by the Oakland Raiders in September 2018 and remained a free agent until signing with Toronto. His most recent suspension took effect in December 2018 and remains intact, though he filed for reinstatement in 2019.

Had Bryant tested positive for a substance that is on the CFL’s prohibited list, he wouldn’t have been eligible to sign in Canada until a year had passed since he failed the test. Marijuana isn’t on the CFL’s prohibited list, so Bryant has been eligible to sign with a Canadian team since he became a free agent over two years ago.

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Why not have a CFL all-star weekend?

Not an actual game but skills challenges/community service/appearances around a selected city to boost the CFL fan base.

TSN access and interviews of players, etc. More content.

Could happen by creating a bye week before the Grey Cup or the week after.

-Jonathan Moxey

Thanks for the question, Jonathan. I don’t think the timing of your proposal is optimal given the weather across Canada in late November/early December, but I still think you’re onto something.

The league launched CFL Week in 2017 and paired it with the combine in Regina. It was a massive success with the event generating 1,489 online articles nationwide and more than 351 million “global media impressions.”

The following year in Winnipeg was even bigger in terms of reach and attendance. It was clear that CFL Week had become a hit and there were initial plans to host it in Ottawa in 2019. The problem is that the league’s collective bargaining agreement was set to expire, which put it on hold for a year.

I really hope that CFL Week is back in 2022. I attended the two inaugural events and thoroughly enjoyed both. March is a dead-zone in the league’s calendar and CFL Week was a great way to create some much-needed coverage.

If you’re still wanting to see an all-star game or skills competition, it might be most prudent for the league to host it before the season in May. This was done throughout the 1970s, which is the last time the CFL regularly played all-star games.

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I’m a little worried with some of the players my Stamps have lost. How will they replace Eric Rogers?

-Brian

Great question, Brian.

Eric Rogers is a big loss, there’s no doubt about that. However, we shouldn’t forget that Rogers was out for the 2019 West Semi-Final and they replaced him with Kamar Jorden.

It’s been a long time since Jorden was healthy, but I suspect he’ll be great in 2021. He’s only appeared in 32 career games, but he’s averaged 70.4 yards and 0.47 touchdowns per contest for his career.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Calgary’s holding back some money in case Reggie Begelton returns from the NFL. The Stamps had interest in Ricky Collins Jr. and Bryant Mitchell in free agency, though neither player was signed.

I believe the Stamps still have some money to spend and Begelton would be an elite re-addition if he’s cut loose by Green Bay after training camp in 2021.

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If this CFL season will have fans how many fans will they have and at what capacity?

-Samuel Ritter

We’ve gotten this question a lot and unfortunately there’s no clear answer at the moment.

We know that the Oilers are putting forth a proposal to allow a limited number of fans at Rogers Place and that the Edmonton Football Team is monitoring those conversations. That’s about it.

I’ll say this — the fact that all CFL games can be played in open-air environments is probably a plus. There’s also some good news regarding vaccination rates that’s recently come out.

I wish I could give a better answer, but that’s all the information we have at the moment. Keep your fingers crossed!

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