KYLE Walters has seen the significant differences in how the NFL plans to treat vaccinated and non-vaccinated players when it comes to health protocols.
Asked if issuing a similar return-to-play plan for the CFL was being considered, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager said things are still being worked out.
"We actually have calls this week on that. We have an update on a return to play policy, educational calls, at the end of this week," Walters told reporters in a 30-minute virtual chat Monday.
"So, as of now, I can’t comment on that, as far as (vaccination) numbers. I know there’s privacy issues with all of that sort of stuff. All we’ve done is just try to educate the players and they can make their own decisions. But educate them and just follow the return to play protocols, is all that we can do. And as I said, there’s an update scheduled later on this week."
NEW LEG IN TOWN: If it wasn’t obvious following head coach Mike O’Shea’s press conference last week, Walters made it official kicker Justin Medlock is done with the CFL. So, too, is veteran long-snapper Chad Rempel.
And he looks forward to what recently drafted replacement kicker Marc Liegghio has to offer. He’ll be working with long-snapper Mike Benson.
"Justin and Chad moving on are huge, huge questions marks. Guys who had been here for a while and done a great job. Mike Benson’s a veteran guy that’s snapped in our league and I don’t foresee any issues there. And we drafted the young kid, Liegghio, for a reason. He’s a hardworking kid and excited... You’ve seen some young kickers come into our league and have success and we certainly believe that he’s got the ability to come in and have success in our league."
COME HUNGRY: Walters was asked, given there are no preseason games, where young Americans often make their mark, how a newcomer might try and impress?
"First and foremost, they’re going to have to show up fit and ready to play. The worst thing in any training camp is for somebody to show up and pull a hamstring in the first week or something like that," Walters said. "Without preseason games, the key for these young guys is to show up every practice and be fit and Mike used the term ‘steal reps.’ So be the guy that we see the most on film that’s competing."
BOMBERS HIRE D-LINE COACH: Darrell Patterson, a former Blue Bomber and 1984 Grey Cup champion, has been named the Blue and Gold’s new defensive line coach.
Patterson arrives in Winnipeg with a lengthy resume coaching NCAA football, including most recently with Rice, where he spent eight years running the team’s linebackers and the last six as an assistant head coach as well. Prior to Rice, Patterson held positions at Stanford University (2005-07), Southern Methodist (2003-04), Baylor (2002), Arkansas State (2001), Kentucky (1997-00), Temple (1995-96), and Akron (1992-94). He started his coaching career with the B.C. Lions, in 1991, as an intern.
After being drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round in 1983, Patterson joined the Bombers in 1984, suiting up for 49 regular-season games over the next four years. His best season came in 1987, when he finished with eight sacks, behind only Blue Bomber Hall of Famers Tyrone Jones and Mike Gray.
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.