Yardage title up for grabs

Ken-Yon Rambo jokes around with Jeremaine Copeland at practice for the weekend game against B.C....

Ken-Yon Rambo jokes around with Jeremaine Copeland at practice for the weekend game against B.C. (MIKE DREW/SUN MEDIA)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

CALGARY -- If Geroy Simon had to watch as a Calgary Stampeders receiver beat him for the yardage title, he would certainly pick Ken-Yon Rambo as the one to do it.

There was a time a few years ago when the B.C. Lions slotback got into a war of words with Stamps receivers Jeremaine Copeland and Nik Lewis.

After Copeland and Lewis made fun of Simon's touchdown pose on TSN's Off the Record, Simon returned the favour by calling them Trick Lewis and Jeremaine Hopeless.

Rambo never figured into the fight.

And if the Stamps leading receiver beats Simon out for the title today at McMahon Stadium (3 p.m., TSN), the Lions' star won't be upset.

"I've liked him for a long time," Simon said about Rambo. "He should have been their No. 1 receiver for the last few years. He's getting his shot and doing a good job. I'm proud of him.

"At one time, I got along with all those guys, but then there was a time when we didn't get along.

"But I respect those guys because they play a good game. I always respected Rambo the most. I never had a problem with him at any point.

"He goes out, plays his game and doesn't do all the celebrations and crap. He does his thing and you have to respect him. I always thought if he got the ball more, he would have a big impact."

Those are hardly fighting words as the Stamps and Lions do battle, but it shows how focused Simon is on winning this game.

Rambo is one yard ahead of Simon and both go-to guys are going to factor in the outcome.

Simon is shooting for his fourth title, while this would be Rambo's first.

Although Rambo played three strong seasons as a secondary target, the Stamps moved him to the short-side wideout position this off-season where they could utilize his speed against a single cornerback.

"He finally got his opportunity," said Copeland. "This should be back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons but he was tortured with penalties bringing his plays back. He deserves every last thing he gets."

Last year, Rambo was 17 yards away from 1,000 and had it in the finale against the Lions until a holding call negated the gain.

This year, Rambo has 97 receptions for 1,392 yards and eight touchdowns, which blow away his career bests.

Simon is at 79 catches for 1,391 yards and 10 TDs, which is actually an average season by his high standards.

The matchup is something to watch, but Lions head coach Wally Buono isn't going to be too concerned about it.

"It's a nice little asterisk by your name, but what does that mean?" Buono asked yesterday. "It means they called your number more than anybody else.

"Offensive players can be highlighted, and the better ones are highlighted more because they can get open and make catches.

"Geroy has been like this for as long as I've been in Vancouver. It's worth noting that his level of excellence is on top all the time. He draws attention.

"Rambo has been an excellent player. He was highlighted this year. Right now, he's as dominant a player one-on-one as there is in the league."

To knock off a guy with Simon's credentials would make Rambo extremely happy.

"It would be big. It would be another notch underneath my belt," said the Ohio State product.

"This is a big accomplishment. I didn't have 1,000 yards or 100 catches in the pros. This is big for me already.

"I know our defence will do a good job against Geroy. I will be on the sideline rooting them on."

The receiving title is a bigger story for the Stamps than the Lions, who need a win to secure second place and a home playoff date next week against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

If the Lions lose to the Stamps, they will have to travel to chilly Regina and play outdoors.

Obviously, Simon would like to start the playoffs at home.

"I want the win first, but obviously everybody wants to lead the league in yards," Simon said. "But winning the game is of the utmost importance."


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