The CFL’s Canadian ratio is near and dear to the heart of TSN’s Davis Sanchez.
Between offence and defence, seven of the 24 starters must be nationals, part of the 21 non-imports on the 44-man, three-down league game day roster. Sanchez wants to see the stipulation carried forward if the CFL merges with the XFL.
“The ratio — it’s a must. I don’t care how this merger takes place, what rules we play, the one thing that’s gotta be there, if we’re playing in Canada, which we’re going to be, there has to be a ratio. It’s probably not going to be the same, but there’s got to be a ratio,” Sanchez said on The Rod Pedersen Show.
“That gives kids, like myself and so many others, the possibility to play pro football. To see somebody in your neighbourhood that’s doing what you dream to do, it’s crucial, that’s where you have to draw a line is the ratio, in my opinion.”
Sanchez was selected in the first round, sixth overall by the Montreal Alouettes in the 1999 CFL Draft out of the University of Oregon. The Delta, British Columbia native played two seasons with the Als, and after being named a league all-star in 2000, inked a contract with the San Diego Chargers.
“I ended up playing in the NFL, starting in the National Football League, but I would have never played pro football at all if it wasn’t for the CFL. I needed the ratio because I was a late bloomer just like so many others,” Sanchez said.
The five-foot-10, 190-pound cover man played 22 games for the Chargers, starting two, while recording 26 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass defenced. Following two seasons with San Diego, Sanchez came back north of the border.
He suited up for eight more CFL seasons, making stops in Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, and B.C. In total, Sanchez registered 330 tackles, 28 interceptions, five returned for touchdowns, three fumble recoveries, two sacks, and one pass break-up.
The 46-year-old player turned analyst looks at the possible partnership with the XFL from an athletes mindset. Sanchez understands the financial realities the players are dealing with due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These guys have already missed a whole year of cheques. Most guys didn’t get signing bonuses and I couldn’t imagine that. It’s been tough for these guys and now you’re talking about a merger, which, in the long term financially, can benefit these guys,” Sanchez said.
“But the reality says if you’re putting energy on this merger it could take away from the likelihood of these guys getting cheques this year. Now, we haven’t heard that, but I think that’s just reality.”
The owners from both the CFL and XFL have agreed to work together to identify opportunities for both to innovate and grow the game of football. The Rock has stated he’s excited for the ‘unique opportunity’ the CFL and XFL ‘can potentially create together.’
“I’m a huge advocate for the CFL. If we could keep this CFL, the way it is, and it was sustainable moving forward, that would be my vote. No question about it,” Sanchez said.
“But it seems as though that’s not a reality anymore. So, that being said, maybe you move on and look at this merger as something viable.”