B.C. Lions eager for return to play amid uncertain CFL future
Players and Staff with the B.C. Lions continue to wait on hand-and-foot for a decision regarding whether they'll be playing football in 2020.
For the several weeks the Lions have taken part in limited, physically distant workouts with trainers and staff. This includes players being screened prior to being allowed admittance to the Lions practice facility in Surrey. In addition, players are also asked to apply hand sanitizer prior to entering the facility.
However, while the players continue to work towards a truncated CFL season, behind the scenes negotiations between the league and federal government have yet to bare any fruit.
At the outset of the pandemic, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie reportedly requested a total of $150-million from the feds, though over time that number would be reduced to just over $48-million.
Meanwhile, where those funds are going to come from remains unknown, after Canada's Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has ruled out his ministry as a possible source of that funding. Guilbeault made the announcement after the Canadian Football League named Winnipeg as the site of their 2020 hub city.
Speaking to CFAX 1070 -- Jordan Maksymic, who joined the Lions as their new offensive coordinator in January, says the players are eager to return to action.
"The one thing I do know is everybody wants to play football," said Maksymic. "Players want to play football, team management wants to play football, those at the league office, all the supports and operations staff -- everyone wants to be out on the football field. I have confidence in all sides that they're working together to get that accomplished."
Maksymic joined the Lions in January after being brought into the fold by new head coach Rick Campbell. He spent the last four years as an assistant coach in Edmonton before coming to the Lions den, where he honed his craft while also building relationships with current Lions QB Mike Reilly and RB John White IV. He enjoyed a large amount of success with the team formerly known as the Eskimos, helping them to one of the league's best offences last season.
The St. Albert native talks about what sort of approach he plans to bring to a Lions offence that struggled for the majority of last season.
"We want our players to play as fast as possible," said the 32-year-old. "We want to have enough tools in our toolbox to have the answers for the things that defenses will throw at us. At this same time, we want to keep things simple enough where our guys don't have to think a whole lot, and can go out there and execute at a high level."
The Lions' new offensive coordinator is currently working remotely from Edmonton, and says that to his knowledge all of the team's players are healthy at this time.