There isn't a bull's-eye target hanging over a picture of Nik Lewis in the Edmonton Eskimo locker-room, but the trash-talking Calgary Stampeder is more despised by the day.
Not only are the Eskimos still upset about Lewis's low block on Kelly Wiltshire, but they're also now vehemently denying the slotback's accusation that Edmonton has more players who purposefully try to hurt people than any other club.
"I think he's full of (expletive)," shot Eskimo offensive lineman Joe McGrath yesterday afternoon. "It's plain and simple.
"He deliberately went out and went at Kelly Wiltshire's leg (last weekend). We just go out there and play tough football. I can see somebody else saying that, but coming from Nik Lewis's mouth it's just retarded.
"He's the problem."
In the third quarter last Friday, Lewis hit Wiltshire with a low block at his knees while trying to help give more space to running back Joffrey Reynolds.
Wiltshire's 10-year career is likely over due to the block, but Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia isn't sending a tape of the play to the CFL head office.
He believes it was a clean block.
TOOK ANOTHER SHOT
In the aftermath of the hit on Saturday afternoon, Lewis publicly apologized to Wiltshire through reporters, but also took a shot at the Green and Gold while in front of the microphones.
"When I'm flying through the air and (A.J.) Gass is sticking his head into my back, nobody said anything about that," Lewis stated.
"He's leading with his head. I'm not doing it on purpose. There are people who try to hurt people on purpose and most of them play for Edmonton."
Steve Charbonneau - who's in the heart of the Eskimo defence at nose tackle - is stunned to hear the charges.
"I am actually shocked to hear that," said the 10-year CFL veteran.
"I have never heard anybody say such a thing, even on the field. I haven't seen it. I think it is just false accusations.
"He obviously hasn't been watching the same games I have been."
Linebacker Singor Mobley admits the Esks play a smash-mouth type of game, but nothing more.
"We are a very physical bunch and we are going to be in your face and we are going to talk to you all game," said Mobley.
"But as far as intentionally trying to hurt anyone, I don't see anyone in this locker-room trying to do that.
"The heat (Lewis) is receiving, it is easy for him to say that to reflect it on to someone else."
Recognized as one of the locker-room leaders, Ed Hervey initially didn't want to acknowledge Lewis's latest ramblings, but decided to come to the defence of his defensive unit.
"The reality is that Eskimo football is a physical brand of football," explained Hervey.
"We are not deliberately trying to hurt anyone.
"We play to whistle and that is how we have always played.
"When you look at that game this past weekend, I don't think you saw anyone who did anything illegal or deliberate. But the hit on Kelly is one that you have to question."