A real attention-getter

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- It's the equivalent of a baseball team getting their ace pitcher back on the mound after a long layoff.

The ripple effect is felt through the whole staff.

Geroy Simon is just that to the B.C. Lions: The go-to guy, the home-run hitter, the main focus.

And, after two games without the 2006 CFL's most outstanding player due to a hamstring injury, the Lions welcome him back tonight when they host the Calgary Stampeders (8:30 p.m., TSN).

"He brings a confidence to the receiving corps," said Lions starting quarterback Jarious Jackson.

"He brings the confidence to the guy behind centre, too.

"You know he will attract attention, and that helps everyone, but when he doesn't (get double-teamed), that's when he will get the ball.

"He makes things easier on other guys."

Even after missing two games, Simon was still seventh in CFL receiving yards before last night's Edmonton-Saskatchewan matchup.

In his absence, the Lions were forced to sign free agent Kahlil Hill (who was released yesterday) and use rookie Rufus Skillern in that spot.

But there was simply more attention paid to Paris Jackson and Jason Clermont as the Lions split a home-and-home with the Eskimos.

The game they won was actually due more to seven Edmonton turnovers than the Lions offence as Jackson was pulled for ineffectiveness.

The Stamps defence is well aware Simon is back. Middle linebacker JoJuan Armour played with the Lions in 2004-05 and doesn't underestimate Simon's impact tonight.

"Big plays," Armour said when asked about what Simon brings.

"Geroy is one of the most outstanding receivers in the league, possibly the best receiver in the league.

"He doesn't start off with the ball in his hands, so it's up to us to make sure he doesn't see the ball too often."

If the Lions get their passing game going, the Stamps defence will have a different weapon to worry about.

Running back Stefan Logan has taken over for Joe Smith, who was contained in Calgary's season-opening 28-18 win June 28.

Logan (5-ft.-6) is completely different from Smith (6-ft.-2).

If Armour had his choice, he would rather face the bruising Smith than the shifty, speedy Logan.

"Most defenders would prefer a back with Joe Smith's characteristics," Armour said. "He's a bigger guy who isn't going to make you miss. You can take a shot at him.

"With Logan, he will be a handful. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and if one guy misses, he can be out of the gate gone.

"We take pride on flying around and having more than one guy in on the tackle. We will swarm Logan."

Although Smith is aloof about not playing, Simon was itching to get back.

The 32-year-old receiver was in street clothes during a game for the first time since 2002.

"I maybe missed three games in my career," said Simon. "It was a tough thing, but good. I got a chance to see things from a coach's point of view and a fan's point of view.

"When you get a chance to step back and see what's going on during a game, you see things with a different set of eyes. Then you can help make adjustments and give advice. Hopefully it makes us a better team."

Since he last missed a start, Simon amassed enough receiving yards to pass Jim Young and become the Lions all-time franchise leader.

Oh yeah, and the Lions haven't lost to the Stamps at home during that time either.


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