Lions' Newman 'takes the high road'

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:33 PM ET

Jesse Newman stepped onto McMahon Stadium turf for the first time as an opponent, and there, lurking 50 yards away, was Nik Lewis.

As Newman answered questions about how great life is now with the B.C. Lions, the former Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman was offered the chance to say he doesn’t like Lewis.

It was Lewis who said, “I don’t like Jesse,’ after Newman unretired to rejoin the Stamps last month.

But the former first-round pick of the Stamps, who shortly after unretiring was traded to the Lions, didn’t want to return the barb.

“If I wanted to say that, I would have a long time ago,” Newman said. “I prefer to take the high road.

“You can’t help what some guys think. I knew there were guys who knew me and respected the decision no matter what the reasons were for.

“I don’t have regrets. Life is too short to regret stuff like that. I certainly gave up a lot. I’m not going to regret it.”

The irony is as Newman suits up as a reserve lineman to face the Stamps — he was traded Sept. 4 for a second-round draft pick — Lewis takes a seat with a knee injury.

When the 28-year-old emerged from a nearly three-month hiatus after the Stamps started 7-1, there was undeniable friction due to his return.

Newman was selected third overall in the 2008 Canadian Draft and quickly became the starting left guard and helped the team win the 2008 Grey Cup as a rookie.

Last year, he lost his starting job for a stretch and ultimately quit on the Stamps two days before this year’s training camp.

His reason was a feeling he needed to spend the summer months at home in Powell River, B.C., adding it had nothing to do with being part of the Stamps.

“I don’t think things went downhill,” Newman said. “You can’t deny it was top of the mountain — being Grey Cup champs is the peak. You can’t say it dropped off. You can’t say all of a sudden it was miserable for me. It was still a great environment.”

Being away from the game, Newman said something changed and he missed it. He’s fortunate to get another chance, and he knows it.

“I always knew I was lucky,” Newman said. “Everyone goes through ups and downs.

“On days you don’t feel like getting up and going to play, I think of the guys who would kill to be in my position. There are lot of guys I used to play ball with who gave their heads a shake when I retired.

“I don’t think about them. I think about me, but it’s not being selfish.”


Videos

Photos