Calgary Herald

Als preparing for life after Calvillo

- HERB ZURKOWSKY

For the first time in a long while, Jim Popp is faced with the task of preparing for the future. And the Montreal Alouettes general manager clearly realizes what that potentiall­y means.

With Anthony Calvillo approachin­g his4 0th birthday and about to embark on his 19th Canadian Football League season, and with his backup, Adrian Mcpherson, entering the final year of his contract, Popp has started thinking about who potentiall­y will become the next starting quarterbac­k.

Popp has placed 11 quarterbac­ks on the Als’ confidenti­al negotiatio­n list as of March 12. With 35 players on the list, nearly one-third is filled with pivots. Clearly, Popp is going to be well prepared should Calvillo retire and Mcpherson sign with another team in 2013.

“You can never have too many (quarterbac­ks),” said Matt Dunigan, a former CFL pivot who is a TSN analyst and commentato­r. “When it comes to quarterbac­ks, it’s a crapshoot. . . . It’s difficult to find aguywho canbeprodu­ctive in a short period of time.

“This isn’t out of the norm. To have between eight and 12 at any given time (on the list), in a quarterbac­k-driven league, I’m not surprised.”

Among the pivots on the list, which gives the Als the player’s exclusive rights should they play in the CFL, are Troy Smith and Russell Wilson.

Smith, 27, who played collegiate­ly for Ohio State and captured the Heisman Trophy as a senior in 2006, has been on the Als’ list since 2005. Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in January, Smith was selected by Baltimore in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft and has played sparingly as a pro. He was with Omaha of the United Football League last season.

Wilson, the former Wisconsin Badger, is projected to be selected in the third or fourth round of this month’s NFL draft, although he’s only fivefoot-11 and 202 pounds. Wilson passed for 3,175 yards and 33 touchdowns last season.

 ??  ?? Anthony Calvillo
Anthony Calvillo

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