Edmonton Eskimo defensive end Rahim Abdullah openly admits he tried to bite Rob Murphy's fingers off last year.
Like a good fighter, Murphy - an offensive tackle for the B.C. Lions - has counter punched with a claim that Abdullah tried to blow out one of his knees last year.
WAR OF WORDS
It's a great football war of words to set the table for Friday's war on the football field between the Lions and Eskimos in Vancouver.
"From the bottom of the pile, he (Murphy) tried to stick his hands up my face mask and gouge my eyes out," said Abdullah, recalling his time with Calgary last year.
"I couldn't get my mouthpiece out. If I got my mouthpiece out I would have bit his fingers."
Calling Murphy and his fellow B.C. tackle Jason Jimenez "extremely" dirty yesterday, Abdullah instantly stoked the flames for this game.
"I don't care what he says about it," shot Murphy yesterday on the phone after Lions practice. "I'm going to the whistle - whether you like it or not. Obviously he doesn't."
Murphy then blasted Abdullah over his actions last year.
"He did try to blow my knee out last year," claimed Murphy. "I think he had to sit down for a quarter the next time we played him as punishment.
"We turned the film in to the proper authorities and it was very blatant on a quarterback sneak last year.
"He lined up way outside from me, didn't even try to go to the ball carrier, just went right at my left knee. If he wants to play prison rules, I am all for that."
Recovered from a right shoulder injury suffered against Winnipeg last week, Abdullah will see both Murphy and Jimenez through a rotating B.C. line on Friday.
"I am the type of guy - if you want to play nice and fair with me, I will play fair with you," continued Abdullah. "If you want to play dirty with me, I'll play dirty with you. I don't want to hurt anyone.
"When I go out to the game, I do my prayers - I pray I don't get hurt and I don't hurt anyone. But I am not going to let no one hurt me."
According to the Eskimos defensive end, there are classy players on offensive lines throughout the league - like Gene Makowsky in Saskatchewan.
"If he does something accidentally dirty - like hands in the face - he apologizes for it. He is a first class guy," added Abdullah.
But Jimenez is not in that category, he charges.
"Jimenez - he dives over the pile," continued Abdullah. "He dove over the pile like two minutes after the whistle had blown and tried to take a guy out."
IN THE TRENCHES
From attacking the throat, knees and the groin area, almost anything seems to go in the CFL trenches.
It's a turf battle - and it's also a mental battle.
"I know I got under (Abdullah's) skin," continued Murphy. "You can affect him mentally in a game by going to the whistle. If he brings the focus to me and he is not trying to tackle Dave (Dickenson), then that is fine."