CALGARY - Tony Washington’s first Labour Day Classic was an experience he’d rather forget.
The Calgary Stampeders’ hulking left tackle was flagged for three illegal procedure penalties and was burned by Eskimos defensive end Marcus Howard on a third-quarter blitz.
Howard drilled Stamps quarterback Henry Burris from the blind side, knocking the ball loose. Esks linebacker Greg Peach recovered the fumble, and less than a minute later, the visitors were celebrating a touchdown that equalled a 25-7 lead and essentially squashed any hopes of the Calgary club’s comeback.
“I just lost focus — it’s embarrassing,” Washington said. “That’s not the way that we’re supposed to play. That’s not the way that I’m supposed to play …
“I don’t play like that. That was embarrassing.”
Washington didn’t have much explanation for his struggles after Monday’s 35-7 loss to the Eskimos, although he mentioned “personal issues” and a “mind in other places.”
The soft-spoken rookie didn’t want to elaborate, saying it was “just something I’m dealing with.”
With offensive lineman Edwin Harrison eligible to return from the nine-game injured list for Friday’s rematch with the Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium, the Stampeders could move last year’s top rookie nominee to the left side while Washington continues to develop.