Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Aug 19 2015, Page 28

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - August 19, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE D4 D 4 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2015 SPORTS winnipegfreepress. com T ORONTO — Chad Kackert is still adjusting to being a football player again. The 28- year- old Californian made a triumphant return to the Toronto Argonauts lineup Friday night, rushing for a game- high 73 yards in their 27- 20 road victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It was Kackert’s first game since suffering a horrific ankle injury in practice at Rogers Centre prior to the 2013 East Division final. Kackert has been a model of dedication and perseverance in overcoming numerous injuries throughout his four- year CFL career. But this time, the 5- 8, 208- pound Kackert admitted he had serious doubts if he’d be able to successfully complete his comeback. “ It’s still soaking in,” Kackert said following Toronto’s practice Tuesday. “ It’s not just football, it’s the fruition of all the hard work and all the belief everyone has had in me and having a positive result ( to show) for it. “ I worked a lot on a lot of things and put a lot of emotion and effort in everything I was doing and just wasn’t seeing results. It was starting to wear on me and it was like, ‘ OK, this is the final test,’ and we passed.” Kackert became Toronto’s starting tailback during the 2012 season after then CFL rushing leader Cory Boyd was released. Kackert posted career highs in rushing yards ( 638), TDs ( five) and games played ( nine) as the Argos captured the 100th Grey Cup game with a 35- 22 win over Calgary at Rogers Centre. Kackert was named game MVP with 133 yards rushing and eight catches for 62 yards. But Kackert’s ankle injury forced him to retire and become the club’s strength and conditioning coach before the 2014 season. Kackert ended his retirement Sept. 27 and went on the practice roster but was released about three weeks later after suffering a hamstring injury. Kackert attended Toronto’s mini- camp in Florida last May. He re- signed with Toronto June 21 and started the season on the practice roster. “ It’s a great story,” Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said. “ I think the thing that isn’t appreciated is... Chad Kackert isn’t making $ 10 million. “ It’s probably an overused cliché but he loves the game, he wants to be a part of it and doesn’t want to go out the way he was going out. To me it makes it even more special because he’s selling out and putting his body at risk for what’s in his heart, not what’s in his paycheque.” Kackert said he didn’t complete his comeback alone. “ I think a lot of it had to do with everyone believing in me,” he said. “ I had accepted that my career could be over because not many guys get opportunities like I’ve been given. “ It didn’t come easy... it was a long stretch and the hardest parts were the emotional and mental weardown of it. But I think with the belief I had from other people I was able to believe in myself a little bit through that.” Unsure about his future, Kackert took steps in the off- season towards a career outside of football, purchasing a women’s fitness franchise with his sister. But it was with the understanding Kackert would give football one last shot. “ My goal ever since I got hurt was to play one more year,” he said. Kackert’s setback allowed him to learn more about himself and gain a new appreciation of the game. “ Football is a great teacher and not just for the young kids who play it,” he said. “ I’ve learned a lot from the game and it’s about character. “ As long as I am able to focus on the game itself I think all those worries about what’s next will kind of answer themselves.” On Friday night, Kackert emphatically showed he had the same explosiveness and big- play capability that made him a Grey Cup MVP. He hit holes quickly and with purpose and never shied away from contact. “ He played very aggressively,” Milanovich said. “ That’s the thing you’re concerned about when you come off two fairly serious injuries, do you play tentative? “ He certainly didn’t do that.” Kackert’s main concern prior to the game was playing at full speed. — The Canadian Press TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts are making contingency plans in case the Toronto Blue Jays reach the baseball post- season. The Argos are scheduled to play four October home games at Rogers Centre and five of their final six regularseason contests there. That includes an Oct. 6 matchup versus the Ottawa Redblacks, which would be the same night of an American League wild- card game. Heading into action Tuesday night, the Blue Jays held the first wild- card spot. If Toronto remained atop the standings, it would host the wild- card contest. Toronto is also battling the New York Yankees for top spot in the American League East standings. Argos president Chris Rudge said if the Blue Jays reached the World Series, CFL games scheduled for Oct. 17 ( versus Calgary) and Oct. 23 ( versus Montreal) would also be displaced. Rudge said in the event of a schedule conflict, the Argos have reached out to a number of venues to host their affected home games. They include Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, the University of Toronto, Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., York University in Toronto, the University of Guelph and the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., as well as the possibility of both Calgary and Montreal hosting Toronto. But Rudge said Tim Hortons Field, which has a seating capacity of 24,000, remains the most likely venue. “ That is probably from a logistics perspective the easiest of the moves,” Rudge told TSN Radio 1050. “ We have been talking to the Ticats at great length.” Rudge hopes the Argos will be in position Sept. 11 when they host Hamilton at Rogers Centre to announce their contingency plans. “ That’s not cast in stone yet . . . but that’s kind of a target right now,” he said. This is the Argos’ last year playing at Rogers Centre. They will move to BMO Field for the start of next season. — The Canadian Press Kackert’s long road back Baseball playoffs could force Argos out Toronto tailback worked hard to return after two- year layoff By Dan Ralph JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Toronto’s Chad Kackert ( right) was plenty of trouble for defenders such as Demond Washington Friday night. ‘ It’s still soaking in. It’s not just football, it’s the fruition of all the hard work and all the belief everyone has had in me and having a positive result ( to show) for it’ — Chad Kackert CINCINNATI — Canadian Eugenie Bouchard bounced back from a disappointing showing at last week’s Rogers Cup to win her first match at the Western & Southern Open Tuesday night. Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., beat Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko 7- 6 ( 2), 7- 6 ( 5) to earn just her third win in her last 10 matches. Bouchard dropped her first- round match at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week to Swiss teen Belinda Bencic, who went on to win the tournament. On the men’s side, Canadians Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil were eliminated Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open. Raonic, seeded ninth at the tournament, was defeated 7- 6 ( 4), 6- 4 by Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the first round. Vancouver’s Pospisil forced a pair of tiebreakers against Grigor Dimitrov, but the 16th- seeded Bulgarian prevailed 7- 6 ( 4), 7- 6 ( 6) in their second- round matchup. Stamps cut ties to Simmons THE Calgary Stampeders have released import linebacker Jasper Simmons after his agent blasted the CFL team on Twitter. Agent Sammy Gahagan posted a scathing tweet Saturday, apparently frustrated by Simmons’s lack of playing time in Calgary. “ Its a shame what the calstampeders are doing to Jasper Simmons. The worst organization in the CFL is holding him hostage & won’t play him,” he posted. He followed with more posts criticizing the Stampeders for not playing Simmons, who retweeted the messages from his account. Simmons had struggled to find playing time since being traded from Ottawa to Calgary in the off- season. He has four tackles in four games with the Stampeders this year. That’s a stark contrast to the 2014 season, when Simmons had 80 tackles and six interceptions and was named the Redblacks’ most outstanding player and top defensive player. Niners’ Simpson suspended SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The NFL suspended San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerome Simpson Tuesday without pay for the first six games of the season for violations of the league’s substance- abuse policy. The 49ers were aware of a likely suspension for Simpson for previous issues, but nothing that is known to have occurred since he joined the 49ers on a two- year deal as a free agent in March. San Francisco has made it clear he must continue to demonstrate positive behaviour to remain in good standing with the team. Simpson can return to the active roster Oct. 19, a day after the team’s home game against the Baltimore Ravens. More surgery for Embid PHILADELPHIA 76ers centre Joel Embiid underwent surgery for the second time on his right foot Tuesday, this time a bone graft procedure. Embiid had two existing screws replaced and a bone graft of the site was done using bone from his hip. The seven- footer from Kansas was the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He missed his entire rookie season after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot in June 2014. The team announced in June he suffered a setback in his recovery. While Embiid likely will miss another season, orthopedic surgeon Martin O’Malley says the “ bone’s integrity was even better than expected and has been put in a great position to support full recovery.” Dombrowski goes to Beantown BOSTON — On their way to a third lastplace finish in four seasons, the Boston Red Sox shook up their front office on Tuesday night by hiring Dave Dombrowski as the new president of baseball operations and saying goodbye to general manager Ben Cherington. Dombrowski takes over his fifth major league club immediately. The team said in a news release during its game against the Cleveland Indians that Cherington “ declined the opportunity to continue as general manager” but will help with the transition. “ In nearly four decades in the game, Dave is a proven winner,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said. “ He can restore winning ways to Yawkey Way and help to fulfil the Red Sox goal, every year, to be playing meaningful games into October.” Yanks put Mitchell on DL NEW YORK — One day after he was struck in the face by a line drive, pitcher Bryan Mitchell was placed on the seven- day concussion disabled list by the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Sporting a large bruise under his eye and tape across the bridge of his nose, Mitchell was in good spirits as he discussed the moments after he was knocked down by a line drive off the bat of Minnesota’s Eduardo Nunez. “ Obviously, hit in the face, so, kind of sore up here,” Mitchell said, pointing to his face. “ But, for the most part, I think it could have been a lot worse. I feel like I’m in a way better spot than I could be.” Mitchell was knocked down by the liner, with the ball caroming into centre field for an RBI single for Nunez. Mitchell was on the ground for more than a minute but was able to walk off the field escorted by members of the Yankees training staff. — from the news services SPORTS In Brief TWO- TIME Dancing With the Stars champion Julianne Hough and Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich say they are planning to get married. Laich and Hough each tweeted a link to a photo of the couple with the same message Tuesday: “ We are overwhelmed with joy and excitement to share with you our recent engagement! # fiance # love” Hough is an actress and became a judge on Dancing With the Stars after winning the competition. Laich, a native of Wawota, Sask., has played 11 seasons in the NHL. He has played his entire career in Washington save for one game with the Ottawa Senators in 2003- 04. — The Associated Press TV star Hough, Caps grinder Laich to tie the knot Bouchard wins tourney opener Jasper Simmons Jerome Simpson Eugenie Bouchard D_ 04_ Aug- 19- 15_ FP_ 01. indd D4 8/ 18/ 15 11: 22: 18 PM

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