J.R. gets another shot

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Talk about a rough way to start (and end) a season.

J.R. Ruffin can't catch much of a break trying to cover opposing receivers this November.

"Two weeks in a row I have two future Hall-of-Famers against me," said the Calgary Stampeders defensive back. "That's something, really."

Today's Grey Cup is Ruffin's second game this season after getting activated for the West final against the B.C. Lions.

In that victory, he was matched up against former CFL most outstanding player Geroy Simon.

By Ruffin's account, he did OK.

There is a much different challenge against the Montreal Alouettes, as Ruffin will take on possession specialist Ben Cahoon.

"This is my second pre-season game," Ruffin said yesterday at Olympic Stadium. "It just happens to the be the two biggest of my career.

"I'm understanding better. I have most of everything down pat. It should be less mistakes now and more playmaking."

Simon managed to get five catches for 105 yards last week, but Ruffin didn't let him get a touchdown and made a couple of nice tackles on the star receiver.

Considering Ruffin didn't play a single game this season due to a lingering knee injury from last year, it was quite an achievement.

But the Idaho product is certainly not satisfied.

"I have confidence from that game last week, but that was my first game and I still did stuff wrong," Ruffin said.

"People probably couldn't tell all my mistakes. Now, I'm more confident because I have an extra week of practice. I have more confidence in my ability to get things done."

Ruffin will need a good effort again today, as he may also have to move over and help with covering CFL touchdown leader Jamel Richardson.

"Because Geroy is one of the best receivers, it doesn't mean he's the better route runner than Cahoon. It doesn't mean Geroy runs a better post than Richardson," Ruffin said.

"My confidence has always been there. I never worry about the opposing team like that. If you don't know your own stuff, it's hard to stop what they do."

Considering he spent the first three months of the season rehabbing, standing out on the field as a player is a dream come true for Ruffin.

"This is a blessing. I was sitting at home thinking this team was going to the Grey Cup, and I was thinking 'Why did I have to get hurt?' " Ruffin said.

"I had been here for two years, and they were going to the Grey Cup without me. I had to train hard to get back. Now I'm in a position not only to play but to help win it."


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