Former offensive lineman Frank Rigney Passes Away as the Blue Bombers Continue to Make Headlines

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RUDOLPH DAMON

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  • Former offensive lineman Frank Rigney Passes Away as the Blue Bombers Continue to Make Headlines

 

Rigney spent 10 years with the Bombers during their dynasty in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was named the CFL West Division's offensive lineman of the year in 1960 and '61. He won four Grey Cups and played in five overall.

Former offensive lineman Frank Rigney passed away earlier this week at the age of 74. 

Following his career he was inducted into the Canadian Football and Winnipeg Football Club halls of fame.

"Frank was a tremendous football player during his time in Winnipeg," Bomber president Jim Bell said in a release. "He will always be remembered as a champion throughout the province of Manitoba."


Rigney was a three-time CFL all-star, was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 1985.

Following his football career, Rigney was a regular colour commentator for both the CBC and CTV football broadcasts.

He was most recently living in the West Vancouver area.

The CFL team recently made headlines as a few players have spoken out in support of the CFL's drug policy.

Part of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement with its players, the policy, which won’t take effect until next year, will see players tested randomly for performance enhancing drugs.

“Everybody’s an advocate of a level playing field,” Bomber defensive lineman Doug Brown said. “It’s great for the image of the league. To be the last existing professional sporting environment where we didn’t have a drug policy, we need to catch up. It looks good on the CFL now.

“You don’t have to worry about whether the guy playing next to you is taking something he shouldn’t be.”

Brown, also one of Winnipeg’s player reps in the union, says he’s seen plenty of evidence of drug use over the years.

“You’re aware of it,” Brown said. “I don’t think it’s a large percentage. It’s a small number of people. The detriments have reared their ugly head many a time. It can be quite devastating in terms of injuries and things.”

Centre Obby Khan likes the message the change sends to kids.

“For young kids growing up, it goes to show by taking drugs or doping, you’re not going to get anywhere with it, now,” Khan said.

Tee team is also celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. 

Head coach Paul LaPolice declared his 46-man roster on Thursday, and the 2010 version of the Blue and Gold is more than a full year younger than last year’s squad.

The average age of the 46-man roster announced Thursday is 26.2, whereas last year’s was 27.3. GM Joe Mack wanted to get younger and more inexpensive, and it appears LaPolice and his coaching staff helped him accomplish that goal through their selections.

“There were some great battles. It was a fun camp,” said LaPolice, in his first year as a pro head coach. “The neat thing we’ve talked about is we do think there’s a mixture of young and old in this group.”

The Bombers open the 2010 season next Friday night at home against their East Division rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats. LaPolice said he planned to address the team on Thursday night and tell them “there’s the talent here to win the Grey Cup.”

The greybeard of the squad is 35-year-old defensive tackle Doug Brown, while the baby face is receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris, who turned 22 on Thursday.

Jeffers-Harris will go into the season as a starter. Some of the other young guns who won jobs are weak-side linebacker Marcellus Bowman, 23, right tackle Kelly Butler, 27, and, most likely, left tackle Andre Douglas, 23, and receiver Cory Watson, 26.