Peers see Sears' side

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Steven Jyles lies injured after taking a vicious hit during the...

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Steven Jyles lies injured after taking a vicious hit during the second half of a CFL game in Winnipeg, on Oct. 28, 2011. (REUTERS)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:06 AM ET

Johnny Sears won’t get to face the Calgary Stampeders this Saturday due to his helmet-to-helmet hit on Steven Jyles.

But the funny thing is, there are Stampeders players who don’t believe the hit was all that dirty.

Football is a physical game played at high speeds, so Keon Raymond would argue there will sometimes be ugly contact like Sears’ hit on the Toronto Argonauts pivot as he was sliding feet-first.

“I don’t think it was a dirty shot,” Raymond said. “I don’t think he did it on purpose.

“This is a physical game, and we all know what we signed up for. Sometimes you get quarterbacks like Steven Jyles, who is a runner. You never know what you will get with those guys.

“You never know if they will slide late or keep running.”

While Sears had the opportunity to appeal his suspension, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers sent out a statement Wednesday saying they accepted the decision and would be without the defensive back for Saturday’s visit to McMahon Stadium.

Right after the play, Toronto Argonauts offensive linemen Taylor Robertson and Rob Murphy took to Twitter and vowed some retribution for Sears. Both players were fined, but they found out about those charges through Twitter, as well.

This isn’t the first time the Argos and the Bombers had a quarterback hit cause controversy this year. Earlier this season, E.J. Kuale knocked Buck Pierce down late, was ejected and later fined.

This one was different in that Jyles was sliding to try and protect himself and give himself up.

Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris isn’t a fan of sliding with his feet, feeling he gives the defender an open shot by doing that, but he would argue as well that Sears shouldn’t have been suspended.

“He was committed to making the hit before the slide,” Burris said. “(The QB) had time to pull up or avoid him. When you have a young guy (like Sears) trying to make an impression on a coaching staff, when you sit back and look at it, you start to see his situation.”

Burris took a similar hit from Blue Bombers linebacker Clint Kent in Week 3 during a 21-20 victory. The QB slid but still took a shot up high and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.

“Luckily, I turned my head before he caught me,” Burris said. “He got a penalty and knocked my helmet off. You are put in that situation sometimes when you slide because you do expose your head.”

The Bombers aren’t the only ones who have knocked quarterbacks out this season.

If it wasn’t for Raymond, the starter for the Bombers this week might be Joey Elliott instead of Alex Brink.

In that Week 3 win, Raymond tripped on fumble return and slammed into Elliott’s legs, blowing out his knee and ending his season.

Brink takes over for Pierce for Saturday’s crucial battle, and Raymond deserves credit for making him the No. 2

pivot for the Bombers.

“Alex probably owes me part of his paycheque or something,” Raymond said.

“At least a thank-you card.”

“I hope Joey is OK.”

“That’s the nature of the game we play. We play a physical game where the object is to smack the other guy in the mouth as hard as you can.

“That’s what we signed up to play for. I’m not big on guys saying ‘he hit me too hard.’ If that’s the way you want it, go play flag football.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


Photos