Jimenez hit a disgrace to the CFL

BILLY POWERS

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

Amid all the hoopla this week about the hiring of John Hufnagel as the new head coach of Calgary's Stampeders, one very ugly incident was overlooked in a big way.

That was the brutal, and some say intentional, hit by B.C. Lions lineman Jason Jimenez on Stamps rookie defensive end Anthony Gargiulo, which ended his season, and there was an early threat, maybe his career.

As of yesterday, no penalty had been handed down as there was ever-so-little in the way of concrete evidence because the hit occurred away from and after the play a week ago yesterday in that 25-24 Stampeders loss.

But Calgary defensive lineman Randy Chevrier was quick to come out in support of his teammate the day after the incident.

After the club had the post-game rundown, 'Chevy' and I chatted at length in the equipment room at McMahon Stadium.

He said as long at Gargiulo is on the sidelines, a portion of every cheque Jimenez earns should go the Stamp's way.

"We don't make a lot of money in the CFL," he said. "So I'd say that the guy must cough up $300 every time he plays."

And this man, who has a weekly radio show with former teammate Sheldon Napastuk on The Fan 960, can talk from experience.

"It wasn't all that long ago that I was dinged, unfairly I might add, with a $750 fine, and it came just as my wife was having a baby. That took away a whole lot of diaper money."

The league has not acted on the hit by Jimenez, and for that they should be ashamed. The 23-year-old Gargiulo had surgery last Monday to repair an ankle that was cracked in two places, a torn ligament and other damage from the cowardly hit.

Chevrier returns to action today in Regina and will play a road playoff game for the first time in a career that started back in 2001, when he spent time in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.

"This is going to be a blast for our guys. The last two years, we had to play in front of the home fans, it always happened that way when I was with the Edmonton Eskimos, so it's going to be different.

"In this one, we get to shut the Rider fans up and we will."

We might also note that in sitting out last week's game, it was the first contest he's missed in his seven years of football that also including a shot in NFL Europe with Barcelona in 2002 and a pre-season game with the NFL's New York Jets in 2004.

Anyway, my take on today's game is really a hope.

I hope all the talk about Tom Higgins being replaced at the end of the season as the club's head coach with a front office promotion in the works will spark a guy like Henry Burris to get back to mid-season form and just pick the Riders apart.

Whatever happens, when it's CFL football of the playoff variety, you know you're in for a good one.

It's the Stamps and Roughriders, and many may think this happens all the time when the division is only four teams strong.

But that is far from the case.

In fact, this is the first time in 37 years the two have met at this level in what used to be called Taylor Field.

The last time was in 1971, and that marked the fifth straight year it had happened. Since then, they have tangled again but never in the Queen City.

We old-timers will remember the one they still talk about in 1970 when homebrew Larry Robinson kicked a 30-yard field goal into a 30 m.p.h. wind in sub-zero temperatures that sent the club to a Grey Cup game they would lose to Montreal.

Only today if you talk to Robbie, the only player to come out of Mount Royal College and play for the Stamps, will tell you it was a 70-yard field goal into a 200 m.p.h. wind and it was at least 60-below.


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