CFL expansion club scouting NFL

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The Canadian Football League’s Ottawa REDBLACKS begin play in 2014, which marks the return of the CFL to Canada’s capital city for the first time in nine years.

Part of Ottawa’s preparations includes in-person scouting of all 32 NFL training camps, Gord Holder of the Ottawa Citizen reported Saturday.

Ottawa G.M. Marcel Desjardins told the Citizen that the club has its selling points, with “the most important thing . . . an opportunity for guys to come in and play right away.”

Said Desjardins, per the Citizen: “Our job moving forward is going to be to educate agents, whether they be in Canada or the United States, as to what we are all about.”

CFL teams evaluating NFL-caliber talent is nothing new; for example, teams regularly send representatives to the Senior Bowl. But finding prospects and getting them under contract are two different matters altogether. There’s the obvious issue of convincing American players to try the CFL. Also, CFL teams have a limited number of NFL players for whom they can hold negotiating rights, with Ottawa even more limited in this regard for the time being, as the Citizen noted. Finally, there are rules guaranteeing a number of Canadian players for every team.

However, playing in the CFL does have its merits, and top players can make a good living. Also, NFL teams scout the CFL, and if a player impresses, the NFL won’t miss it. Look no further than the case of Miami’s Cameron Wake, who starred for the B.C. Lions before heading to the NFL. Seahawks CB Brandon Browner played for Calgary before sticking in the NFL.

Moreover, numerous former NFL players have become big successes in the CFL — with ex-Jaguars slot receiver Chad Owens one recent notable example.

Finally, we can’t finish this post without saying the following:  Yes, Ottawa’s nickname is “REDBLACKS,” and yes, it’s apparently stylized THAT WAY.

Sorry for the shouting.