The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS 3down­na­tion.com

The ini­tial frenzy of free agency may have died down but it has still been an in­ter­est­ing week in the CFL.

THE MOST SIG­NIF­I­CANT news came out of Toronto last Wed­nes­day when it was first re­ported that Jim Popp had be­come the lead­ing can­di­date for the Arg­onauts’

vacant gen­eral man­ager job. The for­mer Alou­ettes GM was pho­tographed watch­ing the Toronto Maple Leafs game with Larry Ta­nen­baum, the chair of Maple Leafs Sports And En­ter­tain­ment, which not only owns the Leafs but has a stake in the Ar­gos as well. By Fri­day, 3Down­Na­tion had con­firmed that not only was Popp on the way, but he would be joined by head coach Marc Trest­man, who was with Popp in Mon­treal. 3Down colum­nist Arash Madani of­fered his take on Twit­ter. “Hy­per­bole show will be on for Popp + Trest­man un­veil­ing. Re­al­ity: could’ve had both in Nov. and not been be­hind 3+ months af­ter 5-13 sea­son,” he wrote. “From start of search, Ar­gos CEO Michael Copeland told con­fi­dants he didn’t want Jim Popp. Turns out, it was his only way to land Trest­man.”

THERE WERE ALSO a cou­ple of no­table trades. Cal­gary dealt long­time backup quar­ter­back Drew Tate to the Red­blacks for draft picks while the Ti­cats sent veteran of­fen­sive line­man Brian Sim­mons to the Alou­ettes for Ethan Davis. 3Down con­trib­u­tor Ian Busby, who cov­ered the Stamps for al­most a decade, said there are some con­cerns about Tate’s com­pete level at this stage of his ca­reer. “You prob­a­bly won’t get any­one from the or­ga­ni­za­tion to ad­mit it, but the ques­tion is there: Does Tate have the ex­treme de­sire to com­pete any­more?” Busby wrote.

THE PASS­ING of Ti­cats leg­end and foot­ball pi­o­neer Bernie Custis was un­de­ni­ably sad but also gave read­ers the chance to re-ac­quaint them­selves with his re­mark­able ac­com­plish­ments on and off the field. Over the week­end, 3Down­Na­tion edi­tor Drew Ed­wards wrote Custis’ legacy should not be for­got­ten. “We need to find a way to hon­our Bernie Custis. Whether it’s the city of Hamil­ton, the Hamil­ton TigerCats or the Cana­dian Foot­ball League — or all three — his legacy and con­tri­bu­tions need to be pre­served in a mean­ing­ful way. Sev­eral peo­ple have sug­gested the team re­tir­ing his No. 99. Oth­ers like the idea of a Bernie Custis Sec­ondary School. There should cer­tainly be some place in Tim Hor­tons Field where fans and vis­i­tors can read about his legacy.”

THE RE­TIRE­MENT of veteran of­fen­sive line­man Chris Best was the big news in Saskatchewan last week and con­trib­u­tor Joel Gas­son said his departure, while ex­pected, cre­ates a prob­lem for the Rid­ers. “It’s not an easy hole to fill. Even though Best has had bad hips since 2009, there was a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence in the Rid­ers line play when he was in the line-up com­pared to when he wasn’t,” Gas­son wrote.

“Sure, no one is rush­ing for 1,500 yards in the CFL any­more thanks to some rule changes but you still need to be able to run the ball.”

FI­NALLY, SUN­DAY was Os­car night and to cel­e­brate, John Smith paired up the nine Best Pic­ture nom­i­nees with the nine CFL teams. His com­par­i­son of the Grey Cup cham­pion Ot­tawa Red­blacks and the al­most-Os­car win­ner “LaLa Land.” “‘La La Land’ is not the best movie of 2016, it is kind of over­rated and its leads are re­ally un­like­able characters. “Let’s face it, while Ot­tawa won the Grey Cup, they have to rank as one of the least de­serv­ing cham­pi­ons in CFL his­tory,” Smith wrote. “They fin­ished un­der .500 with an 8-9-1 record, won a weak di­vi­sion and got hot at the right time. “They, just like ‘La La Land,’ had a lead (Henry Bur­ris) who is only liked by a small seg­ment of peo­ple.” This week, be sure to check out our on­go­ing cov­er­age of the changes in Toronto, the 3DowNa­tion pod­cast and a Satur­day fea­ture on the is­sues fac­ing CFL play­ers as they make the tran­si­tion to re­tire­ment.

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