Lions' Reilly makes cold call

Mike Reilly (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)

Mike Reilly (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:49 AM ET

Mike Reilly decided to seek some advice.

The B.C. Lions quarterback, who will make his second CFL start Friday against the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., TSN, QR77), knew he’d be dealing with freezing temperatures in Calgary.

So who better to act as a sounding board than Green Bay Packers superstar Aaron Rodgers?

“I talk to him every couple of weeks, just to stay in touch,” said Reilly, who was on the Packers practice roster a few years ago. “I figured if I’m going to ask somebody how to play in the snow, that’s probably the best guy to ask.

“He said, ‘Keep your head and hands warm and let the rest take care of itself.’

“As long as you can grip the ball fine and your head is warm so you can think, things will be all right.”

With No. 1 pivot Travis Lulay nursing a sore shoulder, Reilly will get at least one more start. He took full advantage of his first opportunity in the spotlight, leading the Leos to a 39-19 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos last week.

“When you get an opportunity to play, you want to play well,” the 27-year-old said. “I’ve only gotten one opportunity in the last couple of years I’ve been here, so it was important for me to show what I’m capable of.

“I hadn’t started a game in four years. So it’s nice to know I can still play.

“I always knew it, but until you get out there and do it, there’s always a little bit of a question.”

After throwing an interception on his second pass of the game against the Esks, the Central Washington product settled down and completed 19-of-28 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns.

Battling adversity is nothing new for the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, who also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks.

“I’ve been cut three times in the NFL and then I came up here and was close to having Wally (Buono) let me go, as well,” Reilly said. “It’s frustrating when you know what you’re capable of but you don’t get a chance to show it.

“It’s tough when you have a guy like Travis in front of you. You’re not going to get on the field for lack of good play. It’s going to be an injury that gets you on the field when you’re backing him up.”

Stamps linebacker Juwan Simpson said gameplanning for Reilly wasn’t easy.

“He’s similar to Lulay,” Simpson said. “It would be different if they were two completely different quarterbacks, but they have a lot of similarities. I think this kid is good. It’s difficult because you don’t have a full season worth of film to watch on him. But he can beat you with his feet. He’s very agile and he throws a good deep ball.

“So we have to do what we normally do — 12 guys doing one thing.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

@SUNScottFisher


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