Shakespeare Continues to Write Hamilton Ti-Cats’ Off-season
The Hamilton Tiger Cats continue their 2012 off-season makeover in preparation for the upcoming campaign. Last week they announced releasing veteran defensive end Stevie (Shakespeare) Baggs and the signing of defensive ends Angelo Craig, Darius Powell and Marc Schiechi. Earlier in the week, they signed veteran kicker Luca Congi to replace Justin Medlock, who signed with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Congi spent the past five seasons with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, winning the Grey Cup in 2007. He’s hoping to recover from a knee injury that forced him to miss the entire 2011 campaign.
Many were surprised to see Baggs released. I for one was not. I noticed this past season he had lost a step, compared to 2010. Quarterbacks were escaping his pursuit and on many occasions his former team-mate Justin Hickman, now with the Indianapolis Colts, bailed him out. Perhaps age is starting to catch-up with Baggs and his breakout is not as fast as it once was. Having said that, I thank him for his service to both the team and community. Baggs was always good with the media and becoming involved in community events. I wish him well and am confident he will land elsewhere in this great football league. Hopefully it just won’t be with the Argos!
Ticat General Manager Bob O’Billovich noticed this and has brought in younger and talented prospects to try to fill these vacant positions. Since arriving in Steeltown in 2008 as GM, I feel O’Billovich has been very successful in constantly upgrading the Ticats player personnel with a good mix of younger players and quality vets.
I’m optimistic Congi has fully recovered from his injury and will provide an accurate and reliable kicking foot in key game situations. Being a Canadian will allow the Cats to use one of the 20 reserved import spots at another position. Perhaps Hamilton will look either in free agency or the college draft for a punter and/or place kicker because Congi’s average punt only travels 35 yards.
As the Cats continue to gear up for the upcoming season and the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their free fall from the NHL’s playoffs, my excitement for the 2012 CFL campaign continues to build. With all the changes the Cats have made recently, I believe they will have a really competitive team this year. I’m really looking forward to the Cats 2012 CFL Season Opener on Friday, June 29th against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Ivor Wynne Stadium, the last in the iconic football venue.
What do you think?
…and that is the last word.