Dyakowski leads parade of former Ticats in CFL playoffs

Sunday was a great day for the 2011 Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Six members of that particular former Ticats squad – quarterback Kevin Glenn, running back Marcus Thigpen, offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski, receiver Bakari Grant, defensive tackle Eddie Steele and assistant coach Jason Shivers – are now with the Saskatchewan Roughriders who won the Eastern Semi-Final 31-20 over the Ottawa Redblacks.

“We’ve got the the team back together but we’ve made a few key additions,” said Dyakowski, tongue forever planted in his cheek. “Overall though, mostly the same roster.”

They were hardly the only Ticats to see playoff action, however. Former running back C.J. Gable, traded to Edmonton in October for two negotiation list players, racked up 107 yards ruishing and two touchdowns in the Eskimos 39-32 win over kicker Justin Medlock’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Veteran defensive end John Chick, dealt to Edmonton in August for draft picks, collected a sack.

The Riders also feature former Hamilton players Ed Gainey, Chad Owens, Mike Edem and Josh Bartel while the Eskimos have defensive backs Neil King and Johnny Adams, linebacker Alex Hoffman Ellis as well as offensive lineman Joel Figueroa and Simeon Rottier. The Redblacks featured receiver Greg Ellingson, linebacker Taylor Reed and defensive end Arnaud Gascon-Nadon. In addition to kicker Medlock, the Bombers have Canadian receiver Matt Coates.

Next week will also feature Toronto Argonauts defensive backs Cassius Vaughn and Rico Murray as well as Calgary receiver Marquay McDaniel, all former Hamilton players as well.

It’s a long list but Dyakowski is unquestionably the most synonymous with the Black and Gold after spending the first nine years of his CFL career in Hamilton and making countless charitable appearances, not to mention stints on TV as CBC’s Canada’s Smartest Person and a short-lived run on Jeopardy!

But the 33-year-old offensive lineman was released this winter, his reign as the longest-tenured Ticat coming to a sudden and inglorious end. With younger, more affordable players in development, the Kent Austin regime decided Dyakowski was expendable, the latest in a string of long-time Ticats to be shown the door or allowed to depart without much fanfare.

Dyakowski quickly caught on with the arch-rival Toronto Argonauts, signing with them just hours after his release from Hamilton. Then, as training camps were set to open this spring, he was dealt to the Roughriders.

So now Dyakowski will travel with his new team to face his old team the Argos in Sunday’s East Final at BMO Field.

“I really have a chip on my shoulder against that Marc Trestman guy, I’m looking forward to giving him a good thumping,” he said, again joking.

Dyakowski took some good natured ribbing from former Ticat teammates – and faced the legitimate ire of some fans – after signing with the arch-rival Argonauts. Switching sides in the Labour Day Classic is a tough thing to do and seeing Dyakowski in Double Blue would have downright weird.

“It was a very interesting episode, a several month interlude this off-season that I do not acknowledge,” Dyakowski said. “I’m looking forward to playing the game against that team of which I have never been a part.”

The move was perfectly understandable on many levels. First, he needed a job. Second, his wife had recently given birth to their first child, a daughter.

“I knew it was going to be a challenge. The reason I made that terrible misjudgment and signed with Toronto is because I wanted to make it easier on the family, be able to stay home,” he said. “But going out to Regina worked out. I went with a very positive attitude, I wanted to make the most of the chance that the Riders were giving me.”

Dyakowski started all 18 games this season as Saskatchewan posted a 10-8 record, good enough for a crossover spot in the East Division. As he heads to Toronto to take on the Argos, he’s hoping the old allegiances will come back to pay dividends.

“I think everyone in Hamilton will be cheering for Toronto to get beat so hopefully that energy will give us a boost,” he said. “At least for me personally. I don’t care if anyone else is thinking about the Ticat fans.”

“There’s lots of people on this team for Hamilton to pull for so tell them to buy tickets.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1569 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

32 Comments on Dyakowski leads parade of former Ticats in CFL playoffs

  1. Yes, a win-win trade, with Armanti Edwards putting up good numbers this season. Dyakowski is a personal favourite, even though he plied his trade for so many years in Steeltown.

  2. That is a classic line from Pete. “We’ve got the team back together but made a few key additions” Love it. I understand this is the CFL and players come and go with great regularity for a variety of reasons. However, last weeks trend of ex-Ticats that made significant contributions to their team’s fortunes was very noticeable. Most pro athletes will play on the sun in flame retardant suits if the money is right but there are finesse ways to keep a veteran club together and sprinkle in youth that you have nurtured in secondary roles as you go. John Hufnagle in Calgary is exhibit A. Kent Austin is not. And until Caretaker Bob wakes up and figures that out the Ticats will walk the wilderness.

  3. Steve Manitt // November 15, 2017 at 9:44 am //

    What about the Roughriders and the Alouettes?? Kevin Glenn, Brandon Bridge, Vernon Adams, Duron Carter, Ed Gainey, Mike Edem and coach Ed Philion……all would look great in an Als uniform!!!

  4. E. Einstein IV // November 15, 2017 at 10:11 am //

    What a made up story about nothing. Half of the players mentioned played for other teams before they played in Hamilton. Plus It’s a fricken 9 team league with 1 year player contracts. The other non playoff teams BC and Montreal could name players that have been through there as well. This is nothing more than to try to further discredit Austin in that he let all of this playoff talent go.

    • Well said. Creating a story when there is no story to begin with. It is no secret that players get shuffled around in the CFL. Not to mention that a player may work on one team but not another given different play books and dynamics in the locker room. Austin has nothing to do with this.

    • Agreed. enough !Austin did a great job. this year , he simply took on too many jobs. There are a lot of reason to look forward to what the cats can do in the future with Jones, Masoli, Banks, tasker, Leonard, etc. Let’s move on

    • Einstein. You are completely correct. If Drew gets a frosty reception from Austin at press scrums, it is this kind of story. The posters on this site have short memories. Half of them spent the season demanding a thorough housecleaning and now the same “experts” bemoan the players lost. With the possible exception of Medlock few fans questioned these player moves at the time. How many times this season did fans demand that Gable be cut because he was not durable? All forgotten now. And all the fans that said that Banks was washed … a little integrity would go a long way.

      • How do you explain Toronto getting Armanti Edwards for Dyakowski when the Cats just released him for nothing.No team cuts a player in recent memory that then becomes the best receiver in the East ( Ellingson ).Drew is correct the procedure for letting players go must be carefully reviewed because there is a fault in the Cat method.

        • Cisco. As I recall it was a choice between keeping Ellington or Sinkfield. Cats were stacked with American receivers and Ellington had missed time with injury. Not as clear as hindsight makes it seem. And both Bakari and Medlock are more “me first” than team guys. Losing Medlock made me nervous but in the end it proved to be a good call. Hope Sergio can make a full recovery.

        • It does need review … but there’s also players like Bulcke that went to other teams then disappeared (something like one game played for the Argos).

          The article is about former Cat players in the playoffs which includes guys like Glenn that was traded for Burris by a different GM. With a league leading offense under Burris, I don’t see that Glenn being traded was a bad move.

          I notice you mention Ellingson and Grant as taking their teams to the playoffs. Amicus covered Ellingson.

          Grant is similar where it is not as clear cut as you claim. This year with the Riders is better but in line with the 2013 year with the Cats. The rest of the time, most of which is with the Cats, – there’s half of the yardage, significant injury time (including his one year with Calgary) and recurring penalties that wiped out big plays.

          So yes, Grant has been a big contributor to Riders this year but that’s all of two years out of seven with Calgary clearly seeing Grant as expendable.

      • Again Amicus a level head. I appreciate your comments they mirror most of mine. Every team in the league has players succeeding now somewhere else in the league it is the nature of pro sports.

    • It’s like a game of poker you have to know when to hold’em and when to fold’em.Austin does need to improve his game:Medlock,Bakari Grant,and Ellingson would have made for a more cohesive Tiger-cat team.These are not just good players but team leaders that excel in their skill.

      • Love Bakari but team leaders don’t take that many stupid penalties.

      • Cisco If you can’t remember any TC receivers except for Tasker … you should renew you season tickets and check out these guys … Brandon Banks and Jalen Sanders. Both substantially better players than Bakari Grant … sorry Bakari … like you and respect your effort this year … but not really elite.

  5. I think last week’s game results proved the point of that last sentence. Mr. Einstein.

  6. Dyakowski is playing his role as a Double Blue double agent to perfection. Meanwhile Chad Owens quietly goes under the radar as a Double Blue sleeper agent. #sabotage

  7. Dyakowski was a huge pickup for the Riders weak o line. He had a very good season and was a stabilizing force. He’s just one of many players on the Riders roster that deserve a cup. Gooooooo Riders!

  8. Pete’s right. I will be cheering hard for the Riders this weekend.

  9. what a joke Glenn hasnt been with the Cats for 5 yrs,Thigpen hasnt played for 3 yrs and was a Lion last,Grant played in Calgary last 2 years ,Dyakowski was traded to Argos before Riders and as for Steele and Shivers dont recall and if you are trying to say tht these guys are hugely missed here you are way off pal ,seems you dont favor the Cats much do you Edwards

    • The article is about Cats in the playoffs … it is the commenters that seem to want to link guys like Glenn who was traded for Burris by a different GM on the current regime.

  10. @Gord. Do some research.

    • You are right … research is needed as many are going by memory to support a pet theory.

      Glenn … hasn’t been a Cat for eight years.

      Thigpen … has been signed prior to the Riders as recently as Oct 2015 (waived Dec 2015). The last NFL game that there is reference to him playing in was Nov 2014. Maybe not quite three years but close.

      Dyakowski was released by Hamilton Feb 2017 then signed with the Argos. The trade was from the Argos to the Riders.

      • thank you CatFan i knew i was close

        • Only thing I can see that would prompt the comment about research is Dyakowski being released instead of traded to the Riders.

          Everything else is either close enough or understating the timeline.

  11. This is one Cat fan that will be cheering for Sask…to take out Toronto.
    And make no mistake…it will happen in a total blow out.
    Sask by at least 21 points over Toronto.

  12. Austin has to go. When watching him speak, his highfalutin ways and arrogance is why players didn’t want to play with him. He’s made some mistakes with players but what do we know what they deal with as far as cap goes, locker room culture etc… sometimes hard decisions have to be taken. I’m sure, actually I know he knows a lot about football and he’s a very smart man but sometimes a change in scenery can benefit both parties. Has he ever put together a truly dominating team?

    • VanMike that is your opinion. I don’t see Austin the same way you do and many fans don’t. One thing we can agree upon is he knows football and he knows the Canadian game. You don’t throw him away because of a poor start to a season. We had a lot of injuries, poor schedule really poor and some bad breaks in the first 8 games. We could have beat Edmonton twice and they were undefeated at that point. You can make arguments for and against Austin but the one you can’t make is that he took us to 2 grey cups, in the playoffs 4 years in a row and 2 of those seasons we had no home field.

  13. Yada..Yada….Yada-IF Cats are going to sign, extend, or trade his rights, before Nov. 30th? We’re all gonna of wait for that one. Manziel did have the talent at one time, it’s been a while? Does he or other team, willing to take the unqualified risk? Has Manziel or is Manziel as bad as advertised and.exposed in the biased media? Time will tell and get to see his gorgeous fiancee, who can take an uppercut? ,GO Johnny GO. Kinda think, Zach’s days are numbered in the Hammer.

  14. As I commented before…you suck Austin…and I’ll leave it at that.

    • Poor comment, PHilski. Stick to football. And realize he is just as human as the rest of us. And, by the way, KA did win a Grey Cup as a player and as a coach

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