McNeil just couldn't bear to sit and watch

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Jay McNeil's streak is still alive. The Calgary Stampeder offensive lineman will play in his 13th straight Labour Day tilt today at McMahon Stadium.

In a case of very good timing, the guard is coming back to the line up after missing three games with a pulled calf muscle.

"It would have been tough," said McNeil on missing this year's game. "Obviously, it is a lot of fun to be a part of."

The 37-year-old non-import is the longest serving Stampeder.

But his most vivid Labour Day memory has nothing to do with the 2003 game -- which featured a bench-clearing brawl.

"It was my first one," said McNeil of the 1995 contest.

"Doug Flutie started that game and Jeff Garcia came in after one play and he threw six touchdowns.

"It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that game."

Back in 1995, the Esks and Stamps were battling for first place in the North Division.

Now, the two provincial rivals are battling to stay out of the basement in the West Division.

Calgary and Edmonton enter this afternoon's traditional tilt with seven points each, tied for third -- and last -- in the West.

"It sucks. That is all you can say," stated McNeil on life at the bottom of the standings.

"These two games will go a long way to determine what happens the rest of the season."

The personable lineman just doesn't want to see a repeat of 2005, when defensive tackle Cedric Scott hauled down Henry Burris.

"We had a chance to win," recalled McNeil. "We got sacked on the last (offensive) play of the game.

"That is the one that sticks out because it was so close."


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