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Old 11-14-2017, 03:35 AM
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WINNIPEG -- Two is better than one for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this season when it comes to kickers, at least when theyre both Canadians. Coach Mike OShea says they opted to stick with veteran Mike Renaud for punting and go with Canadian newcomer Lirim Hajrullahu for field goals and kickoffs. He says American Brett Maher was pretty much in a tie with the Canadians, and as an import he needed to win all three battles. "I said all along in that battle he had to win the job outright in all three phases and I think he drew even in all three phases," he said Monday after Maher was released. "I think it was a pretty even draw. . . And the way our roster shapes up, that wasnt necessarily good enough." But he says Maher is a quality kicker who should find a home if anyone watched what he did with the Bombers. Renaud is entering his sixth season with Winnipeg. Rookie Hajrullahu is a native of St. Catharines, Ont., whose 402 points and 72 field goals are records at Western, where he played for the Mustangs through 2013. Winnipegs roster issues when it comes to the import-Canadian balance werent helped any Monday with the news linebacker Graig Newman could miss the entire regular season, after suffering a serious ankle injury in their final pre-season game in Calgary. OShea held out some hope he might return earlier. "Graigs a guy we went after hard in the off-season and Im not saying hes done for the season," he said. "I know thats whats been said in the report but Im optimistic and sos he and well see him soon. Hes already in his mind figuring out his rehab and how hard hes going to work. . . Ask me again in a couple of months, three months possibly." Newman was scheduled for surgery Monday after dislocating and fracturing his ankle in their 23-20 loss to the Calgary Stampeders Saturday night, the Bombers second pre-season loss after bowing 24-22 to the Toronto Argonauts last Monday. "Graig is not only a great football player, but a great person, and our entire organization supports him throughout this process," general manager Kyle Walters said in a release. "We look forward to him beginning rehab and returning to the field as soon as possible." The six-foot-one, 195-pound native of Langley, B.C., had 18 tackles and one sack last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He also had one punt return for seven yards. "This is obviously very disappointing as I was really looking forward to being a part of all the new things going on in the Blue Bomber organization," Newman said in a statement issued by the team. "This is a great province to play football in, and I look forward to getting back out there as soon as possible." The Bombers also cut veteran Canadian offensive lineman Chris Kowalchuk on Monday. He was entering his sixth season, although he had only played a total of six games over the last two. They released three rookies as well, Canadian running back Errol Brooks and pair of imports, receiver C.J. Tarver and linebacker Kenny Tate. OShea says playing both pre-season games in less than a week was tough and he decided to give the players Monday off. "It makes it harder to practice right now," said OShea. "The guys had two games in six days, theyre tired and they need a little bit of a rest." He says its still training camp mode in terms of their practice shcedules, but theyre also getting ready for the CFL season opener, which will be played in Winnipeg against the Toronto Argonauts June 26. The break is timely, OShea said. "Our focus is cleaning ourselves up with the focus shifted to our opponent." He also said he has no worries about how the offensive line is shaping up, despite some criticism of the way they allowed Calgary to get to their quarterbacks on the weekend. "Theyre taking the techniques . . Theyre applying them in the game. . . By the time we roll into week one theyre all going to be better and theyre going to be better as a unit." He also said he wasnt worry about a defence that lost the battle in both pre-season games. "Im not concerned at all. I know what weve put in and I know that well keep working. The efforts there, the buy-in is there." New York Knicks Jerseys . Mladenovics quick hands at the net made the difference while Bencics inexperience in doubles showed. "We took a lot of pleasure," Mladenovic told Sport Plus television. "Its extremely difficult to play in such conditions, but our doubles team showed a lot of quality. Walt Frazier Jersey .J. Ward appeared in court Friday on misdemeanour charges that he threw a glass mug at a bartender at a Denver strip club. http://www.nbaknicksauthority.com/an...s-jersey-c-13/. Toronto dropped a 7-2 decision to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon, with only a pair of late runs preventing a second straight shutout loss. Josh Willingham belted a two-run homer in the first inning and Kendrys Morales hit a bases-clearing double in the seventh as the Twins took the rubber game of the three-game series. Patrick Ewing Jersey . 4 jersey of former defenseman Rob Blake this coming season. The ceremony will take place prior to the Kings January 17 game against Anaheim. Custom New York Knicks Jerseys . Jannero Pargo scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to help the Charlotte Bobcats erase a 21-point deficit and rally for an 83-76 preseason victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. ORLANDO, Fla. -- The NFL officiating department will help referees rule on instant replay reviews starting next season. League owners passed a rule Tuesday allowing referees to consult with director of officiating Dean Blandino and his staff to help determine whether a call should be upheld or overturned. NFL officials said the change should speed up the process. Blandino and other staff will be monitoring the games from league offices in New York, and they will immediately begin reviewing challenges before the referee even gets to his monitor. They can make recommendations on what replays to look at, but the referee still will make the final decision. Rich McKay, Falcons president and co-chairman of the influential competition committee, called it "kind of a proof of concept to see how this works. We feel pretty comfortable with it, though." "What we do like is we take the true experts in replay, those in New York, to be able to communicate with the referees who have the ultimate decision," McKay said. "We just think we get a more consistent decision-making process." Blandino said the new process will be faster and make more eyes available to help in the reviews. "Well be reviewing all the angles the network is providing, in essence finding what is the best reviewable aspect, and getting a baseline for the referee," he said. "Then we will begin the communication process with the referee once he is done speaking to the coach and announcing the challenge. "Consistency is what we are striving for in officiating and this will definitely help us in that area." One coach, Cincinnatis Marvin Lewis, a member of the competition committee, believes the entire procedure has been upgraded. "By consulting with New York, they can speed up the review process while they talk to the referee," Lewis said. "They can tell the rreferee: Here are the shots all set for you to look at.dddddddddddd" Blandino wasnt sure this change would lead to more challenges, noting that coaches will still lose a timeout for an incorrect challenge. Players no longer will be allowed to dunk the football over the crossbar of the goalposts in celebration. Blandino said the NFL is making a clarification of the rules for mutual respect and sportsmanship. "We put a rule in several years ago about not using props on the football field: the football, the pylon," he said. "This is just expanding upon that rule to include the crossbar of the goalpost. We had the situation with (Saints tight end) Jimmy Graham knocking the uprights off kilter last season and it delayed the game. "We have a potential rule change where we could raise the uprights, so you may have more issues with that if guys are dunking." The owners also banned roll-up blocks to the side of a player. In the past, the rule only barred such blocks from behind. "We saw some plays on tape that we just felt like we needed to expand that protection," McKay said. Commissioner Roger Goodell believes small changes like that one, along with other recent rule changes, have made the game safer. "We went through that (data) in greater detail with the outside firm thats been tracking that for us and its very clear that the rule changes we have made had the positive impact that we intended," Goodell said Monday. "While there are some that say it has had a negative (impact) -- as an example, ACL injuries being up -- thats not the case. What weve seen is that players have adjusted to the rules and they are finding that target zone and it is a safer, better game because of it." A dozen other proposals for rules or bylaw changes were being considered by the owners, with votes on them expected Wednesday. 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