Frequently Asked Questions about Players

That is a good question but requires a subjective answer. CFLdb will not rank current or former players. As for positions, the db in CFLdb stands for database, not defensive back. Some of the great DB's from the CFL's past include:

  • Less Browne, 1st – Interceptions, Career, 1st – Interception Return Yardage, Career, 4th & 5th – Interception Yardage, Season
  • Larry Highbaugh, T2nd – Interceptions, Career
  • Al Brenner, 1st – Interceptions, Season, T2nd – Interceptions, Game
  • Rod Hill, 1st – Interceptions, Game, T4th (2 times) – Interceptions, Season
  • Terry Irvine, 4th – Interceptions, Career T4th – Interceptions, Season, T2nd – Interceptions, Game
  • Larry Crawford, 9th – Interceptions, Career, T4th – Interceptions, Season
  • Paul Bennett, 11th – Interceptions, Career
  • Harry Skipper, 3rd – Interception Yardage, Career
  • Don Wilson, 5th – Interceptions, Career, 4th – Interception Return Yardage, Career
  • Orlondo Steinauer, 2nd – Interception Yardage, Career
  • Baron Miles, 3rd – Interceptions, Career, 6th – Interception Return Yards, Career, 1st – Blocked Kicks, Career
  • Byron Parker, 1st – Interception Return TDs, Career, 1st – Interception Return Yards, Season, T4th – Interception Return Yards, Game

CFLapedia has records of many historical CFL players, including stats and records. A complete record of players, coaches and games from 1946-2012 can be found in The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia.

CFLdb is not affiliated with the CFL or CFLPA and has no contact with or knowledge of current or former players or their agents. I suggest you contact the CFL Head Office, CFLPA or individual clubs for current and alumni player contact information. You may also want to try the CFL Alumni Association.

To search for a name or partial name of a player to see the years and teams he played on, try your search on CFLdb Statistics, which has CFL and predecessor rosters from 1930 to 2012.

A team's practice schedule in weeks where their games are seven days apart may look like the following for a hypothetical Sunday afternoon game (understanding that in 2019 < 2% (1/81) of games were played on Sundays):

  • Sunday - play game, may return travel after game
  • Monday - travel day, day off
  • Tuesday - meetings, film review
  • Wednesday - practice, meetings
  • Thursday - practice, meetings
  • Friday - practice, meetings, may travel late in day
  • Saturday - travel day, pre-game walk through
  • Sunday - play game

This is a generalization on the exception (5%) rather than the majority of games. Most games are played Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. Most of these are evening games. Game time and location will affect schedules, as will decisions to stay on the road for back-to-back road weeks. With this knowledge and a little thinking, one can see how the schedule would adjust for these situations.

See also Paul LaPolice's guide to a road team's week.

Effective Sept. 2017, the league and Player's Association reduced the number of contact, padded practices from 17 per season to zero.

In a seven day span, modern CFL teams dedicate one day to playing the game, two days off from practice usually, three days of practice, one day of walk through before playing their next game. Shortened weeks obviously cut into the practice days when games are less than seven days apart, with one day of practice and a walk-through being possible. Normally one of those games would be a road contest and necessitate travel, however it is possible for teams to play back-to-back games on the road or at home. This is a general guideline and team schedules can change from week-to-week within the confines of the CBA.

The CBA provides for a 4.5 hour working day for CFL players. Practices would generally be 1.5-2 hours long, leaving an additional 2.5 hours for meetings, film review, etc. There is little time to waste.


The CBA prior to the current 2019 agreement stipulated the following for regular season practices:

  • Practice times and meetings must not exceed 4.5 hours in duration in a single day.
  • When there are six or more days between games, players are required to have one day off between games without practices or meetings
  • When there are five or less days between games, all practices that week shall not be in full gear but in sweats, shoulder pads, and helmets only.

There are at least two contexts defining a rookie/veteran in the CFL, the CBA and for the purposes of awards. The CBA is only concerned with CFL experience and defines a veteran in Section 10.01 as any player:

  1. Who in the immediately preceding season:
    1. Was on the Players Roster and/or Injured Players List and/or Disabled List of a Member Club or Member Clubs of the C.F.L. for seven or more games; or
  2. Who over any period of time in the preceding seasons:
    1. Was on the Players Roster and/or Injured Players List and/or Disabled List of a Member Club or Member Clubs of the C.F.L. for eight or more games;

  3. In this Article “games” shall include regular season games, playoff games and Grey Cup games but not pre-season games.

Section 10.02 defines a one year veteran as a player who was on a CFL roster or inured/disabled list for seven games in their first year and for five or more games in any year after the player's first year in the CFL. The qualification of a veteran player and years of experience affects everything from supplementary compensation to negotiation list eligibility to player release restrictions among other CBA rules.

In determining who is a rookie/veteran for the purposes of eligibility for the Most Outstanding Rookie award, a player is defined as a rookie if:

He had not:

  1. In any prior season dressed for a member Club of the Canadian Football League at the time it played in a regular season or playoff or championship game;
    — and —
  2. In the current season or in any prior season, dressed for a member Club in the National Football League, at the time it played in a regular season or post-season or championship game.

This is the only situation where player experience from other leagues is considered in any CFL rules or regulations to my knowledge.

Note: CFLdb is not a pension specialist or financial advisor. The following is not professional advice. Please seek qualified advice before making any financial decisions.

The current CFL pension is a defined contribution (rather than defined benefit) plan (also). Therefore, it is impossible to place a value on the pension at retirement as it is dependent on the number of games a player plays and how well the money invested performs over time.

Under the current pension plan, instituted in 1999, member clubs make their annual pension contribution for any player on the roster, injured or disabled lists for nine or more games a season per Article 13 of the CBA. This payment is required within 28 days of a player playing his ninth game. A player's contribution is deducted from the player's game cheque over the first nine games (1/9th of the annual amount deducted per cheque) the player qualifies for a game cheque. Games in this instance includes regular season, playoff and Grey Cup games. A player is always entitled to his own pension contributions, so by playing a single game in the CFL, the player's pension deduction and all earnings is owed to him.

In 2021, the annual player and team pension contribution was $4,100 each, for a total of $8,200 per season. Pension contributions made by a player are vested immediately and available for transfer out or as pension funds at retirement. A club contribution made once a player receives his ninth game cheque in a season may also be immediately vested1, the vesting period being the nine games it appears. CFLdb is not a pension specialist nor a financial advisor. Players, please contact your CFLPA player rep, CFLPA head office, CFLPA President, Executive Director or Manulife Financial, Pension Plan Administrators for full details.

There are still over 1,000 former CFL players who have not kept their contact information up to date with the CFLPA. Refer to the list on the CFLPA site for the current situation. With $4.5 million in pension contributions available to "missing" members at the end of 2014, it is an average of about $3800 per person. At current contribution rates, a player playing 1 season (minimum of 9 games) would have $8,200 present value which would equal almost $60,000 after 30 years at 7% return on investment, while a player who played five seasons would see pension contributions (personal and employer matching) of $41,000 grow to over $300,000 in 30 years at 7% return on investment. (Return on investment is estimated and will vary in reality based on investment and market performance. Please seek the advice of an investment professional for details).

Former CFL players can review the CFLPA missing member page and contact the CFLPA with updated address info to claim any pension monies owed to them. Players should remember to keep the CFLPA informed of changes of address after their playing career is over to enable proper delivery of their pension statements and to reduce the administration costs for the CFLPA Pension Plan. International players who played after 1966 or their survivors should also investigate whether they have Canada Pension Plan (CPP) monies available to them. More answers to frequent pension questions is provided in the CFLAA Pension FAQ.

1Vesting occurs after a person has been part of the plan for a specified amount of time in accordance with pension legislation. In Canada, for normal employees, the maximum vesting period varies by province and is between two to ten years. Once a person is vested with a plan, they are entitled to receive the value of their own contributions plus those of the employer along with investment returns earned on both. Source: Due to the nature of professional football and the terms of the CBA, the team's annual contribution is paid in full after nine games and may be immediately vested at this time.

CFL teams usually conduct tryout camps in April and May (but as early as January) across the United States for free agent American players. Some teams also hold late summer/early fall workouts looking for players for the increased practice roster period that occurs in the fall. Following CFL team Twitter feeds is a good way to be alerted of upcoming free agent tryout camps. The CFL Tryouts site has details of upcoming camps, what the workouts entail, fees, waiver forms, registration and more information.

Undrafted Canadian (National) players can submit film to teams and request an invitation to training camp. Teams may hold private workouts for non-import players if they are interested. Players such as Rob Bagg and Tim O'Neill have taken this route to the CFL.

Global player talent is primarily sourced through the European and Mexico leagues the CFL has partnered with and holds global player drafts for. Team officials in these leagues should be aware of combine and draft opportunities to be considered by the CFL.

Workouts may be open or require film submission and team pre-approval to attend. A registration fee is normally required, will vary from team-to-team and is non-refundable. To participate in a tryout/free agent camp, players must have expired college eligibility and be a free agent (not be under contract with a team in any other football league). Players on a CFL team negotiation list will only be able to workout for that team; if a player is not aware he is on a negotiation list, he will be informed if he contacts another team. To enter Canada, players must hold a valid passport whether travelling by land or air. Teams may want to know this is in place before offering a invitation to training camp.

Information on all CFL team tryout camps is linked on the CFL Tryout page. Details on each team's details is linked below. Look for teams to publish dates of their spring free agent camps in the first few months of the year. Watch the CFL Tryout page and team sites for updates during the year. Please refer to each team's page for official information, including workout details and registration fees.

BC Lions Free Agent Camps

Calgary Stampeders Open Tryouts

Edmonton Elks Open Tryouts

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Free Agent Camps

Montreal Alouettes Open Tryouts

Ottawa RedBlacks Prospective Players

Saskatchewan Roughriders Open Try Outs

Toronto Argonauts Tryout Information

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Free Agent Camps

Remember to label all film submission materials as "Educational Materials" to avoid border delays (is this still required in today's digital world?).