The Edmonton Eskimos' defensive quarterback will be on the field for Saturday's highly anticipated rematch with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Middle linebacker Agustin Barrenechea - who makes the Green and Gold's defensive calls on the field - wasn't suspended by the CFL yesterday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn last Friday.
Instead, Barrenechea was fined for the wicked hit, which happened in the fourth quarter of Edmonton's loss.
"I am happy he is going to play, obviously," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia. Now, the question is whether Edmonton's offensive quarterback - Ricky Ray - will be the target of payback from the Bombers during Saturday's game at Commonwealth Stadium (5 p.m., CHED).
"I'm not concerned," said Maciocia on that topic. "But we will do our best to protect him."
Many fans felt Barrenechea would be suspended for the hit, which could have left Glenn with a broken jaw. But the CFL head office made its ruling based on previous decisions in recent years.
"We had two similar incidents involving hits to the quarterback in the helmet area and they resulted in a fine," said CFL chief operating officer Michael Copeland. "One involved (defensive end) Terrell Jurineack and (another) Scott Schultz."
Added CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins on yesterday's decision: "It was the way to go. (And) it was a substantial fine."
While the CFL didn't release the amount of the fine for Barrenechea, a source told Sun Media it's between $500 and $1,000. Barrenechea wasn't available to the media for a comment yesterday.
But the Bombers delivered a carefully scripted statement: "The league has a responsibility and an obligation to protect the players of our game. The type of incident that occurred - blatant, helmet-to-helmet contact, which can lead to career-ending injuries for our star athletes - has no place on the field," said Lyle Bauer, president and CEO of the Blue Bombers.
"We are very fortunate this incident did not lead to a serious injury to our quarterback, Kevin Glenn. These types of violations and incidents need to be met with a succinct position that they will not be tolerated by the league. The decision made by the league has taken somewhat of a step in that direction."
In an interview with Sun Media late Friday night, Barrenechea said he didn't intend to lead with his head. Maciocia explained to the league head office that his middle linebacker had a previously perfect resume.
"The only argument I did make for Augie is that here is a guy that has never even been fined for dress-code violation," said the bench boss. "Anybody that knows Augie knows he is not the type of a guy that is out there to hurt anybody."
The league also fined Edmonton's Dario Romero for unsportsmanlike conduct, although he wasn't tossed out of last Friday's game in either of the scuffles in the final 1:14.Eskimo Jason Goss was also fined for rough play, which led to him being disqualified in the final scuffle.
Winnipeg's Romby Bryant (rough play, disqualification), Dominic Picard (rough play, disqualification) and Cam Hall (comments on officiating to the media) were also fined.
PARTING SHOT: "IT IS A VIOLENT GAME. IT'S PLAYED AT A VERY HIGH SPEED. AND STUFF HAPPENS, SOMETIMES," SAID MACIOCIA WHEN ASKED IF HE WAS SURPRISED BARRENECHEA WAS NOT SUSPENDED.