Vince Young, Drew Willy among notable CFL final cuts

Vince Young's football comeback with the Saskatchewan Roughriders ended Saturday.

Quarterbacks left off 46-man rosters to start season

Vince Young, left, and Drew Willy were both cut as CFL teams made their final roster decisions on Saturday. (CBC Sports)

Vince Young's football comeback with the Saskatchewan Roughriders ended Saturday.

Leigh Steinberg, Young's agent, tweeted the former Texas Longhorns' star quarterback was waived by the Riders after suffering a torn hamstring during the CFL team's training camp. Young didn't play in either of Saskatchewan's two exhibition games.

CFL teams had until 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night to finalize their 46-man roster to start the regular season. At least 21 of those players must be Canadian with clubs allowed to carry three quarterbacks of any nationality.

Another 10 players can be carried on the practice roster.

The Riders confirmed Saturday evening that Young was among the 20 players they'd released. Also let go was running back Anthony Allen, who re-signed with Saskatchewan on June 2, spending two seasons with the club before playing in 2016 with the B.C. Lions.

"Riderville it was fun... don't know why I was brought in though only to be let go.. ran the ball once last game," Allen tweeted prior to the Riders' confirmation of their final cuts.

Willy cut by Argos

Young wasn't the only notable quarterback released. The Toronto Argonauts cut Drew Willy, a player they gave up a 2017 first-round selection to acquire from the Winnipeg on Sept. 11, 2016. That pick ended up being the first overall, which the Bombers used to take Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie.

Willy started four of the five games he played with Toronto and was handed the starting job at season's end by then coach Scott Milanovich. But that all changed this off-season when Milanovich left to join the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and new coach Marc Tresman named veteran Ricky Ray as his starter.

The six-foot-five, 232-pound Young was injured June 6 and expected to miss four-to-six weeks. Young, 34, signed a two-year deal with the Riders this off-season after spending eight years in the NFL but hadn't played in a regular-season game since 2011 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Young was to battle CFL veteran Kevin Glenn for the starter's job in Regina. Glenn will be under centre when Saskatchewan kicks off the regular season Thursday night against the Montreal Alouettes.

Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., will be the backup with rookie Rookie Marquise Williams standing third on the depth chart.

Young was 30-2 at Texas and in '05 led the school to an NCAA title. He went in the first round, third overall, of the 2006 NFL draft to the Tennessee Titans and was the league's top rookie and a Pro Bowl selection that season

Young, a 2005 Heisman Trophy finalist, started 50-of-60 career NFL games and in `09 was its comeback player and earned his second Pro Bowl nomination. But the Houston native had been out of football since 2014 when he retired after being released by the Cleveland Browns.

Bombers part ways with Stafford

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released 12 players, including American receiver Kenny Stafford. The six-foot-three, 205-pound Stafford signed with the Bombers in the off-season after having spent time with Calgary, Montreal and Edmonton, registering 89 catches for 1,214 yards and 12 TDs in 41 career regular-season CFL games.

Stafford wasn't unemployed long, landing on Edmonton's practice roster later Saturday. Stafford helped the Eskimos win the 2015 Grey Cup.

Defensive back Jovon Johnson, 33, was among 11 players let go by Montreal. The CFL's top defensive player in 2011 with Winnipeg, Johnson was a two-time league all-star (2009, 2011) and spent time with Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal, registering 504 tackles, eight sacks and 32 interceptions, returning six for TDs.

Toronto let 15 other players go, including defensive back Aaron Berry, who returned an interception for a TD in Toronto's 24-20 exhibition win over Montreal on June 8.

D'Auguilar sent packing

Canadian defensive lineman Ben D'Aguilar and veteran quarterback Mitchell Gale were among the Calgary Stampeders' 17 cuts. Gale, a four-year CFL veteran with Toronto and Saskatchewan, battled Ricky Stanzi and Canadian Andrew Buckley for backup duties behind incumbent Bo Levi Mitchell, the league's outstanding player last year.

D'Aguilar, a 27-year-old naitve of Hamilton, was a 2013 second-round pick out of McMaster University. Primarily a special-teams player, D'Aguilar appeared in 49 regular-season games and two playoff contests with the Stampeders.

The B.C. Lions released seven players, including Canadian receiver Brett Blasko, a 2016 third-round pick.

Running back Kendial Lawrence was among 20 players let go by Edmonton. The 26-year-old returned to the Eskimos this off-season as a free agent, splitting last year between Hamilton and Saskatchewan after spending the 2014-15 campaigns in Alberta, having rushed 712 yards on 132 carries (5.4-yard average) with four TDs and adding 96 catches for 927 yards and five touchdowns.

Hamilton gave 23 players their walking papers, including kicker Anthony Fera. That means Sergio Castillo won the kicking job with the Tiger-Cats.

The Ottawa Redblacks will reportedly announce their final cuts Sunday.


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