Shrewd moves by Buono give Lions depth
VANCOUVER — An astute set of moves by B.C. Lions coach and general manager Wally Buono during the winter has made it much easier for the Canadian Football League team to withstand two season-ending injuries.
B.C. (3-1) will visit the 2-1-1 Calgary Stampeders on Friday without starting defensive back T.J. Lee and veteran receiver Nick Moore. Both players were injured in the Lions’ 40-27 win over Saskatchewan that preceded a bye week and will not return this year.
Replacement defensive back Steven Clarke and receiver Geraldo Boldewijn will have a chance for season-long work with strong outings against Calgary. Neither player was in the Lions’ off-season plans. Buono let both players out of existing contracts with the Lions in order for them to work out with NFL clubs.
An unorthodox bit of flexibility on the part of the CFL’s leader in career coaching wins has enabled the Lions to deal easily with the first serious rash of injuries to face the team this year.
“All the clauses in a contract aren’t always normal,” said Buono, who also raised eyebrows this week when he re-signed defensive backs Chandler Fenner and Anthony Gaitor to the practice roster after cutting them in training camp.
“You have to compromise a little. You can be hard and I’ve been hard, but if being fair meets everyone’s needs then let’s be fair.”
The Lions knew what they had in Clarke, who played 15 games last year at wide-side cornerback in the defensive secondary before a failed bid to make the NFL’s Tennessee Titans this spring.
“It was just a great opportunity that B.C. allowed me to come back,” said the 25-year-old Clarke upon taking over for Lee.
Stamps coach Wally Buono “Let’s be fair.”