WINNIPEG — When the Edmonton Elks were scheduled to hold media availability at their hotel Thursday to talk about opening preseason on the road against defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers, they had yet to leave the Alberta capital.
Instead, they crouched and waited for news of the ongoing talks on a collective agreement, which were threatening to stall.
It was hoped to have everything settled earlier in the week, but a potential agreement proposed to the players by Canadian Football League and Players Association officials was rejected on Monday night, leaving things in limbo with the possibility of one lockout or other strike.
“We weren’t sure how this was all going to end, but the fact is the membership turned it down. There’s not much more to say about that,” said Elks center David Beard, one of the player representatives on the team. “We go back to the negotiating table to find out what membership wants and negotiate those things.
“As players on the field, we’re just trying to focus on preparing and letting the business take its course.”
Easier said than done, of course, when the team ends up having to rush to get to Winnipeg in time for Friday’s (6:30 p.m. TSN, 630 CHED) game. And this is one of the better results…
FORD VS. FORD?
If the game is on Friday, it could very well be brother vs. brother on the field at the same time.
Tre Ford was drafted in the first round (eighth overall) by the Elks, while his brother and University of Waterloo teammate and defenseman Tyrell Ford left five spots later as the Bombers’ top pick in the May draft.
And Tre Ford is expected to enjoy considerable playing time (should play go ahead) after working extensively with the first team over the past week.
“I’m talking to my brother and I know he’s fine out there. That wouldn’t surprise me,” said Tyrell Ford, hinting that his brother might even make the surprise start. “It would suck at the same time because I think I’m going in a bit later in the game and I might not have a chance to face him.
“I’m excited to see what he’s going to do. It’s the beginning of his career as a quarterback in the CFL, so it’s going to be great.”
Their first appearance together on a professional field – or rather against each other – will be the culmination of their lifetime of growing up playing the sport at the highest level.
“First game, whether he takes the field or I take the field, I’ll probably just have a big smile on my face when our dream of playing pro football finally comes true,” Tyrell Ford said. “Once the lights come on and the whistle blows us in, he’s going to be a competitor and I have to treat him like any other player. I know what he’s capable of and I’ll be ready.”
It’s been a while since they’ve played in opposing uniforms.
“We played on different football teams when we were very young, but that’s it,” said Tyrell Ford, adding that unfortunately the twin brothers’ parents will not be able to attend the game. “We’ve always been on the same teams. We competed against each other in training all the time, but it’s a bit different than in a game.
“He stayed away from me most of the time, but maybe things have changed. Maybe he’s trying to attack me because I’m the beginner. Lets see what happens.”
it even happens depending on what is happening with collective bargaining.
“I really don’t pay attention to it because I really don’t have anything to do with it,” said Tyrell Ford, who is not allowed to vote as a freshman. “I’m interested in the future of the CFL, but the vote has nothing to do with me, so I’ll just stay out of it and see what happens.”
As for his first full-fledged professional training camp, the 5-foot-1, 194-pound Niagara Falls native says things moved quickly after attending mini-camps with the NFL’s New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers .
“I was a little late and a little behind,” he said. “It was kind of a difficult part of it all and trying to figure out exactly where I fit in. I just keep learning the playbook which I’m pretty comfortable with now.
“Now it’s time to go out and do some plays and prove myself.”
In and out:
On Thursday, the Elks announced the sacking of a trio of American players, including OL D’Antne Demery (Florida International), who played one game for the club last season. Also eliminated were WR Shaquille Hill (Eastern Washington) and DL Fulani Freeman (West Chester).
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