The CFL team with no name now doesn’t have a head coach.
Scott Milanovich resigned Monday as the head coach of the Edmonton Football Team to explore NFL opportunities. The move came just over a year after Milanovich stepped down as the quarterback coach with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars after three seasons to return to the CFL, where he got his first opportunity to become a pro head coach.
“Scott informed me (Monday morning) that he was resigning as the head coach of the Edmonton Football Team to accept a position in the NFL,” Edmonton GM Brock Sunderland said in a statement. “It’s disappointing that he was never able to coach a game for our organization due to the pandemic.
“We wish Scott and his family all the best in his future endeavours.”
Milanovich sent a short statement to Global News Monday.
“I wish things had gone differently, but nobody knew COVID was going to happen,” he said.
Milanovich guided the Toronto Argonauts to the 2012 Grey Cup title in his first year as a head coach. But he never got the chance to coach Edmonton as the CFL didn’t play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milanovich, who turned 48 on Monday, is expected to become the quarterback coach with the Indianapolis Colts. That position became vacant after Marcus Brady – who served as the Montreal Alouettes’ receivers coach from 2009-11 when Milanovich was the offensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach on Marc Trestman’s staff – was promoted to offensive co-ordinator on Monday.
Milanovich is also good friends with Colts head coach Frank Reich. Both were quarterbacks collegiately at Maryland and served as backups in the NFL before getting involved in coaching.
Milanovich actively courted Reich to join his Toronto staff in 2012 before the latter accepted a job as receivers coach that year with the Arizona Cardinals. Brady, who replaced Milanovich as Montreal’s offensive co-ordinator, reunited with Milanovich as Argos offensive co-ordinator (2013-17) before being hired as the Colts assistant quarterback coach in 2018.
Milanovich and Brady won three Grey Cups together as coaches (2009-10 with Montreal, 2012 with Toronto). Before entering the coaching ranks, Brady was a CFL quarterback with the Argos (2002-03), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2004-05) and Alouettes (2006-08) and met Reich in large part because of the Colts coach’s relationship with Milanovich, the ’12 CFL coach of the year.
Brady replaces Nick Sirianni, who left Indianapolis to become the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach. Brady becomes just the third Black offensive co-ordinator in the NFL after Kansas City’s Eric Bieniemy and Tampa Bay’s Byron Leftwich.
Kansas City and Tampa Bay square off in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
Milanovich’s departure creates two problems for Edmonton as he also was the club’s offensive co-ordinator. So Milanovich’s successor would have to be someone with an offensive background if they were to handle both jobs because the offensive assistants currently on staff likely don’t have enough experience to assume responsibility for the unit.
Two potential candidates could be Jaime Elizondo and Jim Barker, both offensive-minded coaches with extensive CFL backgrounds.
Elizondo has served as an offensive assistant or offensive co-ordinator with Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Barker has been a CFL head coach with Calgary and Toronto (twice) and won four Grey Cups.
And it would seem former CFL head coach Chris Jones has thrown his hat into the ring after a tweet Monday. Jones, an assistant coach with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, was Edmonton’s head coach in 2015 when it won the Grey Cup.
”EdmFootballTeam would love the opportunity win another one! #GreyCup2021,” Jones tweeted above a picture of himself with the Grey Cup.
Edmonton defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe is another veteran CFL coach, having also served with Montreal (defensive co-ordinator/assistant head coach from 2013-17) and Ottawa (defensive co-ordinator 2018-19). But like Jones, Thorpe doesn’t have an offensive background.
Milanovich was a former NFL quarterback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-99). He also suited up with NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder (2000), the XFL’s Los Angeles Xtreme (2001), Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm (2002), and Calgary Stampeders (2003).
–With a file from Morley Scott, 630 CHED