CFL probing Barrenechea's hit

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Edmonton Eskimos linebacker Agustin Barrenechea is at the centre of a heated CFL investigation for his wicked hit on Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn.

The helmet-to-helmet hit in the fourth quarter of Friday's game in Winnipeg - where Barrenechea led with his helmet and smashed Glenn in the head - has brought tough talk from the Blue Bombers and a concerned tone from the CFL head office.

Tom Higgins - the CFL's director of officiating - isn't speculating on whether Barrenechea could be fined or suspended for the rematch game on Saturday in Edmonton.

But the league head office has launched an investigation into Barrenechea's hit and is taking it very seriously.

"Helmet to helmet is something that is very, very dangerous for both the receiver and sender," Higgins said.

"Both athletes put themselves in jeopardy and that is why we have to be very, very careful ... and it is something that is a great concern to the CFL, as well as all our teams and partners."

The two head coaches involved in last Friday's game - Winnipeg's Doug Berry and Edmonton's Danny Maciocia - have already been contacted by the CFL head office.

While Maciocia is taking a low-key approach to the matter, Berry believes Barrenechea intentionally led with his head - leaving the Bombers top pivot with concussion-like symptoms.

"The way you coach it you tell your players to make the effort to make the helmet miss and this was not the case," said Berry.

"(Glenn) was in the training room (on Saturday). He's still a little bit groggy, so he'll be a day-to-day thing. We'll have to see how he is by Tuesday."

Glenn couldn't come back into last Friday's game to take a knee on three snaps to end the tilt.

If the red-hot quarterback can't play in Saturday's game, the Bombers will be ripped.

The players involved in the hit receive a chance this weekend to make statements to the league, giving their side of the story.

From there, Higgins and CFL director of football operations Kevin McDonald will assess the video footage and make a recommendation to CFL commissioner Mark Cohon on whether Barrenechea should be disciplined - and to what extent.

"I'd like to think - early in the week," said Higgins on when a decision will come from Cohon.

"Before the next game is played, definitely.

"A strong statement needs to be had - we have to protect all our athletes.

"Helmet to helmet is a dangerous situation at the best of times.

"There is no place in this game for keeping your eyes down. Keep your eyes up.

"We have to make sure we are sending the message that we can't have helmet-to-helmet hits."

Barrenechea told Sun Media immediately after the game late Friday that he didn't intend to lead with his head.

Sun Media reported Barrenechea - the middle linebacker and quarterback of the Esks' defence - spoke to Glenn after the game.

Maciocia isn't sure if Barrenechea will be suspended.

But the Esks coach did concede: "The league is trying to protect its players."

Maciocia disagrees with Berry's claim the hit was intentional.

FINISH LINES: EDMONTON STARTING LEFT TACKLE JOE MCGRATH COULD BE DEALING WITH A TROUBLESOME KNEE INJURY.

Missing the entire second half Friday in Winnipeg with a knee problem, McGrath's exact injury isn't known.

"It potentially could be ligament (related)," Maciocia admitted. "I don't know what to fear."


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