Apr 2, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  General view during the Michigan Spring game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Michigan, CFL linebacker Craig Roh dies at 33

Craig Roh, a four-year starter on the defensive line at Michigan from 2009-12, has died at age 33 from colon cancer.

His wife, Chelsea Roh, announced his death on Wednesday on social media. The Rohs have a 2-year-old son, Max.

“Craig was the most driven/disciplined person I have ever met,” Chelsea Roh wrote on Instagram. “He gave 10000% into everything he did, including being a wonderful husband/father. Driving away from our first date, I knew in that moment that my life was changed forever. … Even though he left the world at only 33, Craig lived an amazingly full life. I’m not sure how I’m going to live the rest of my days without him, but I will put one foot in front of the other for our beautiful little boy.”

According to a GoFundMe page set up to pay for medical expenses and Max’s education, Roh was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in August 2022.

“Craig did not want to go public with his diagnosis and battle because, in true Craig fashion, he did not want the attention to be on him,” the fundraiser page reads. “From chemo, to targeted therapy, to clinical trials at MD Anderson (in Houston) and in Honduras, Craig was resilient till the very end.”

Roh started a program-record 51 straight games at Michigan after twice being named Gatorade Player of the Year in his native Arizona. He later spent one season with the Carolina Panthers and five in the Canadian Football League, where he won the Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019.

The Rohs moved to Austin, Texas, where Craig Roh worked at tech startups and also started an online business teaching the techniques of coaching defensive lines.

“I am saddened to hear about the passing of former defensive end Craig Roh, our program’s all-time leader in career starts,” new Michigan football coach Sherrone Moore posted to social media. “My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time. The entire Roh family is in my thoughts and prayers and we hope for peace and comfort for all who knew this great Wolverine.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 17, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; BC Lions defensive lineman Mathieu Betts (90) sacks Edmonton Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius (15) in the second half at BC Place. BC won 22-0. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Lions sign CFL standout Mathieu Betts

The Detroit Lions signed defensive lineman Mathieu Betts to a reserve/futures contract on Tuesday.

Betts, 28, was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player after recording a league-best 18 sacks in 18 games last season with the B.C. Lions. The Montreal native’s sack total was the most by a Canadian-born player in league history.

Betts initially was selected third overall by Edmonton in the 2019 CFL Draft before opting to sign with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent. He was cut by the Bears later that summer and returned to Canada to play with Edmonton (2019, 2021) and B.C. (2022-23).

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Fans participate in a light show at the end of the third quarter between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Former Nebraska, CFL RB Dahrran Diedrick dies at 44

Former Nebraska and Canadian Football League running back Dahrran Diedrick died Saturday after a fight with cancer. He was 44.

Born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto, Diedrick played for the Cornhuskers from 1999-2002. He led the Big 12 with 1,299 rushing yards and scored 15 touchdowns in 2001, finishing his career with 2,745 rushing yards and 26 TDs in 47 games.

“It’s really sad,” former Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. “Great kid. Huge heart in everything he did. I enjoyed being around him. I enjoyed coaching him and I think the players enjoyed being around him. He was a warrior.”

Diedrick signed with the then-San Diego Chargers after going undrafted in 2003 and also spent time with the Green Bay Packers and the Washington franchise. He appeared in his only NFL game with Washington in 2004.

Diedrick won three Grey Cup titles during a 10-year CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos, Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“I won two championships with Dahrran and he was a very important piece of our team,” former Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo said. “He was always in a good mood and got along with everyone in our dressing room. He leaves us far too young.”

Diedrick was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma in 2014 and retired after that season. He rushed for 872 yards and six touchdowns in 130 career CFL regular season games.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, family, and former coaches and teammates of Dahrran Diedrick during this difficult time,” CFL commisioner Randy Ambrosie tweeted. “Another life tragically cut short by cancer.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 18, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Former first-round pick Paxton Lynch cut by CFL’s Roughriders

Former NFL first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch was released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, the team announced Monday.

The quarterback didn’t see any action in the 2021 season. According to 3DownNation.com, Lynch didn’t suit up for a single game and was placed on the suspended list prior to the playoffs.

Cody Fajardo was Saskatchewan’s main quarterback while Isaac Harker and Mason Fine each saw limited action.

Lynch, who turned 28 on Feb. 12, received $65,000 in base salary in 2021 plus $3,600 in housing.

The Denver Broncos used the 26th overall pick on Lynch during the 2016 draft, but he played in just five games (four starts) before being released prior to the start of the 2018 campaign. He passed for 792 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions over two seasons.

Lynch also went to training camp with the Seattle Seahawks (2019) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2020) and was released both times.

Lynch played college football for Memphis from 2013-15 and passed for 8,863 yards, 59 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant (12) after the game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Suspended WR Martavis Bryant signs with CFL

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who remains indefinitely suspended by the NFL, signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

The team announced his signing on social media but did not reveal contract length or financial terms.

The NFL suspended Bryant on Dec. 14, 2018 — his third suspension in four seasons — for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Bryant, 29, played college football at Clemson and was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his first two seasons, he was a productive complement to All-Pro Antonio Brown, catching 76 passes for 1,314 yards with 14 touchdowns in 21 games.

He first was suspended in August 2015 and missed four games. He subsequently was suspended for the entire 2016 season before the indefinite ban.

Bryant most recently played in Oakland in 2018 with the Raiders while appealing the third suspension. In eight games that season, Bryant totaled 19 receptions for 266 yards. He has career totals of 145 catches for 2,183 yards and 17 touchdowns in 44 games (18 starts).

He applied for reinstatement to the NFL in 2019, but it has not been granted.

The CFL preseason is scheduled to begin in May. The league took 2020 off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

–Field Level Media

Could Tim Tebow end up in the CFL?

<p> Every so often Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp checks in with Tim Tebow’s agent in hopes of bringing the former University of Florida star north of the border.</p> <p> “We would love to see him,” Popp told NFP.</p> <p> Perhaps that’s not just wishful thinking by Popp, who has spoken with Tebow’s father, Bob, but never with the quarterback himself.</p> <p> After all, his Canadian Football League team holds Tebow’s playing rights.</p> <p> <strong>The CFL negotiation list</strong></p> <p> The CFL has a draft, but it is only for Canadian citizens. Free agents can be placed on a negotiation list of 35 players. It is a first-come, first-serve, private list only known to CFL teams and the league office.</p> <p> The Alouettes could leave Tebow on that indefinitely. But if he wants to sign, Montreal, according to league rules, has to offer a contract within 10 days or take him off the list.</p> <p> CFL teams can take a player off at any time but cannot tamper with someone else’s list. Hypothetically, they could even put high school players on that list, though they cannot negotiate with them or college players until they have declared for the draft or already have spent four years in college.</p> <p class="co_image co_image_right inline_right"> <img alt="Tim Tebow" src="http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c1910342/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/icon19491753.jpg" /><span>ICON</span>Tebow's stint with the New York Jets included just eight pass attempts over 12 games.</p> <p> The latter was the case with Russell Wilson, who spent four years at North Carolina State (including one red-shirt season). Marc Trestman, the offensive coordinator at N.C. State before leaving to coach the Alouettes prior to Wilson’s arrival, helped recruit the quarterback to the Wolfpack.</p> <p> Because some deemed Wilson too short to play in the NFL, there was talk that he might join the Alouettes, who are always watchful for players overlooked by the NFL.</p> <p> “This is what we have to do in our league,” Popp said. “You’ve got to project pro players and how they fit into a system.”</p> <p> Wilson, of course, opted to transfer to Wisconsin, had an outstanding year and ultimately led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory.</p> <p> Other noteworthy players who were once on the Alouettes’ negotiation list include Clay Matthews (a former USC walk-on once considered too slight) and Colin Kaepernick (once considered a product of a gimmicky system at Nevada).</p> <p> Michael Sam is on the Alouettes’ negotiation list in case the pass rusher does not make it in the NFL.</p> <p> Tebow, like Wilson, has a connection to the Alouettes through Trestman. Before entering the NFL, Tebow received tutoring from the quarterback guru, then-Alouettes head coach and current Chicago Bears head coach.</p> <p> <strong>A welcome opportunity</strong></p> <p> If the CFL acquiring a former first-round pick and Heisman Trophy winner like Tebow still sounds preposterous, <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Inside-Chad-Johnsons-foray-into-the-CFL.html" target="_self">consider the Alouettes signed Chad Johnson</a>, a six-time Pro Bowler with the Bengals, and the wide receiver plays for them this season.</p> <p> Johnson catches passes from Troy Smith, the Ohio State quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 2006, the year before Tebow captured the award.</p> <p> Smith was part of the plan to fill a void left by Anthony Calvillo, who threw for 79,816 yards — more than any other quarterback in pro football history — before retiring in January, five months after suffering a concussion.</p> <p> “If there was ever a time when (Tebow) wanted a great shot,” Popp said, “now is the time.”</p> <p> One obvious drawback, though, is that Tebow likely would have to take a pay cut from what he could potentially earn doing lucrative speaking engagements.</p> <p> The CFL has a $5 million salary cap in 2014, and the average salary is about $89,285.</p> <p> Tebow, who has joined the SEC Network as an analyst, has said that he will continue pursuing an NFL playing career.</p> <p> “I’m training every day and feel like I’m the best that I’ve ever been,” Tebow told <em><strong>The Tennessean</strong></em> last month. “I still love it, love playing, talking about it and I’m just excited about whatever the future holds. Who knows what could happen?”</p> <p> The Patriots cut Tebow during the 2013 preseason. He spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Broncos and 2012 with the Jets. Though his Broncos tenure included inconsistent play and wobbly passes, he led Denver to an AFC West title in 2011. Despite completing just 46.5 percent of his passes, Tebow used the read-option to pilot Denver during his 7-4 regular season record and won a playoff game on an 80-yard TD pass.</p> <p> “He may not be conventional,” Popp said. “We know the character. We know he’s been a champion. We know he’s a winner.”</p> <p> Even if the two-time BCS national champion decides to play in the CFL, some believe he would not be a good fit. The inclement weather represents a challenge for the passer &mdash; as does the wide field. Twelve yards wider than the NFL’s, it places an emphasis on passing accuracy, which has been Tebow’s greatest flaw.</p> <p> Will Tebow ever take snaps on that wide field for the Alouettes?</p> <p> “I don’t really for sure know,” Popp said. “His agent’s always given us the same answer: ‘He’s still trying to get back in the NFL, and that’s what he’s concentrating on.’”</p> <p> <strong>Follow Jeff on Twitter:</strong> @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/jfedotin" target="_blank">JFedotin</a></p> <p> <em><strong>Jeff Fedotin has written for Packers.com, Pro Football Weekly, ESPN The Magazine, the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World and Rivals.com. After graduating from Northwestern University, he interned for the Buffalo Bills. During his football playing days at Pembroke Hill (Mo.) School, Fedotin was known for his bad knees and even worse blocking. </strong></em></p>