Jones dislikes Stampeders

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

Kitwana Jones dislikes the Calgary Stampeders.

Really, really dislikes them.

No halfway about it.

The Edmonton Eskimos defensive lineman and special teams stud has been through four Labour Day Classics as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Never felt this way about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Only the Calgary Stampeders.

"I know what the rivalry is like," said Jones. "I've watched it for the last four years, watching these guys go at it ... fight, scratch, pull, whatever you needed to do to get the win."

He knows how intense the Edmonton-Calgary rivalry can be. He's like a kid in a candy shop to finally be part of it.

He didn't have to say it, but it seems like Labour Day in Calgary is one day Jones had circled on his calendar since he was traded here in May.

"I'm very enthusiastic about it because I don't like Calgary at all," said Jones.

"Every time I see that red, every time I see Henry Burris, it burns me up, it pisses me off."

It's not as if Jones is steamin' about a team that dominated his former squad on the field.

"When I played with Saskatchewan, we had a good record against Calgary," said Jones.

"At the same time, I just didn't like them. They're too cocky. They're arrogant front-runners. I've just got a thing about it -- and I'll be ready."

There aren't many Eskimos veterans around who can tell tales of many past battles. In fact, only about a half-dozen Eskimos have played in two previous Labour Day games.

There's close to 18 Eskimos who will be suiting up in their first Labour Day game tomorrow.

Recently acquired linebacker T.J. Hill has only experienced the B.C./Montreal non-rivalry in his first two CFL seasons as an Alouette.

"Every game means something," said Hill. "I'm not going to take anything away from it because in reality it is the Labour Day Classic. It's not just for us, it's for the organization, for the city of Edmonton and the province of Alberta. It's a great event everybody can look forward to."

Defensive lineman Kai Ellis spent part of his rookie season in Calgary and part of last season in Winnipeg. Curiously, though, this will be his first-ever Labour Day game.

"I know the Battle of Alberta where there's a tradition of people don't like each other," said Ellis.

"It's a chance for fans to get together and talk trash about which team's the best."

Running back Arkee Whitlock has already heard about the atmosphere and the welcome the team can expect.

"I've been educated a little bit on the rivalry and the situation of what this game's all about," said Whitlock. "How big, how important this rivalry is to the city of Edmonton.

"Throughout the week, without really thinking about it, you get a feeling it's a big game by how the guys are acting in the locker-room.

"When they came up here, it was my first experience of the relationship between Calgary and Edmonton football. It was a nice experience."

CON.GRIWKOWSKY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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