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Oliver makes catch, but doesn't make cut


Rookie wide receiver Brian Oliver celebrated his first professional touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Baltimore Football Club's exhibition opener Saturday.

But Oliver's moment of ecstasy turned to agony when he was cut yesterday as the team reached the 55-player roster limit.

"He was no longer in contention to make the team," coach Don Matthews said. "[The cut] was based on practice and the game."

Oliver, who holds the Ball State record for career touchdown catches with 24, joined the Canadian Football League team three days into training camp. Early in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 45-11 win over the Ottawa Rough Riders, he caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from a scrambling Shawn Jones.

Oliver was the only cut announced yesterday, although there probably will be more players released before Saturday's exhibition game against the Birmingham Barracudas in Miami.

Matthews almost a Cowboy

Former CFL executive Bob Ackles gave Matthews his first head coaching job in 1983 with the B.C. Lions and was rewarded with a Grey Cup title in 1985. Now with the Philadelphia Eagles, Ackles still holds Matthews in high regard.

"I have to put Don Matthews in a class with Jimmy Johnson," Ackles said after scouting Baltimore's opener.

Among the coaches Ackles has worked with are Johnson and Tom Landry with the Dallas Cowboys, and Buddy Ryan, now with the Phoenix Cardinals.

At Ackles' recommendation, Matthews was nearly hired as defensive line coach by Landry in 1989. But before Landry could make an offer, he was fired when Jerry Jones took over.

Matthews is the fifth-winningest coach in CFL history with 110 wins, and the second fastest -- behind former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant -- to reach 100.

Back in the slot

Reggie Perry's move from fullback to starting slotback opposite Chris Armstrong this week is merely the latest career position switch for the 24-year-old Texas native. Perry was a quarterback for three years at Southern Cal -- and a starter in 1991 -- but became a nickel back in the secondary as a senior.

Last year, he played five games, with two starts at slotback for Baltimore. This summer, he was trying to make the team primarily as a fullback. But in an effort to improve the team at slotback, Matthews decided to give Perry a shot at the starting job ahead of NFL veteran Mike Alexander and injured Joe Washington.

"I love to play," Perry said. "If they told me to play center, I'd play there and put all my 200 pounds into it."

In his limited role last year, Perry had seven receptions, including a 79-yard, non-scoring catch against Hamilton. He said he hopes to make the defense pay attention to him. "I'm a team player, and I can't let it be a one-receiver game," he said. "I've got to take some pressure off Chris and let them know I'm out there."


Birmingham quarterback Matt Dunigan, nursing a hairline fracture on his right hand, is not expected to start Saturday's final exhibition game against Baltimore, but is expected to open the season for the Barracudas. He did not play in the team's 31-28 loss in Shreveport last week. Backup Reggie Slack likely will start Saturday's game. . . . BFC running back Robert Drummond (strained buttock) and cornerback James Bullock (bruised shoulder) are questionable for the Birmingham game.

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