Number on their hearts

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Every Edmonton Eskimo receiver was Jason Tucker this night.

Especially Kamau Peterson.

It was Tucker's roommate who came up with the idea to have special white undershirts made up with Tucker's No. 83 embroidered on the front for all the receivers to flash after they made a big catch.

And it was Peterson who made the biggest catches to inspire a comeback which, while nowhere near as remarkable as Tucker walking into the Eskimos' dressing room last night after having broken his neck in Hamilton last weekend, was still remarkable.

Tucker, you could say, won his second football game for the Eskimos this year and he did it from the press box where he watched the game with his family.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Tuck gets the game ball from this one. He might get a few this season. We'll be feeding off him all year," said Peterson.

"We knew he'd be here before the game," said head coach Danny Maciocia, who now has 80% of the wins he had all last year.

"After warm-up we called the team in and gathered around."

It was a time few players will forget in their careers.

"It was good," said Tucker, who was wearing a neck brace but was without the walker he was using at the hospital the day before in Hamilton.

"They were happy to see me and I was happy to see them. I didn't have to say anything to them. By the look of their eyes, I knew."

Peterson said Tucker being in the dressing room was inspiration without him having to say a word.

"It was real hard for me not to break down," he said.

"He didn't really say anything. He was cracking jokes and saying he'd be playing golf with us Sunday. He didn't give any Vince Lombardi speech. All he had to do was just walk in. He'd just broken his neck. There were not many dry eyes in the house."

The Eskimos started on their own 20-yard line when Ricky Ray threw big play passes to Peterson and Kelly Campbell and took the team 90 yards on eight plays for a 7-0 lead.

It was by far their most impressive opening series of a game this season.

But if you showed up late and managed to missed it ... well, for the longest time there, it looked like the Tucker tribute was over.

The Eskimos only had 81 yards offence the rest of the first half and were down 20-10 going to the dressing room.

The game looked lost with the Eskimos down by 14 points late in the third quarter when the Tucker inspiration finally kicked in again.

Ray used Peterson again, like he did on that first drive of the game, for a 21-yard reception which will find its place on the season highlight films along with Tucker's incredible catch in the endzone to beat the Calgary Stampeders in the first home game of the season.

He was just clobbered by Otis Floyd as he caught the ball, but before Floyd could check him out, he popped up, pulled up his sweater and flashed Tucker's No. 83.

"I don't remember a lot of it," said Peterson.

\ "But I tried to get up as quick as I could."

Ray said that was the play.

"That catch motivated everybody," said Ray.

The quarterback hit Fred Stamps with a 45-yard bomb on the next play for the touchdown. Stamps raised his shirt to reveal the 83 on his undershirt.

On the next series Ray hit Peterson on the sidelines for another sensational catch for 25 yards.

Again the shirt came up and the 83 was flashed. Ray, again, followed that up with a bomb to Andrew Nowacki, who was unbelievably wide open for the touchdown which tied the game 24-24. It was his turn to display his No. 83 undershirt.

"It was nice to be able to contribute.

"I was just happy to be able to do that tonight any way we could. We all got in on it. It was special.

"We wanted to show Tuck that he was out there with us on the field and we have every intention of doing that all year," he said.


Videos

Photos