That just ain't right

Bombers defensive end Tom Canada (left) gives defensive tackle Doug Brown a playful punch earlier...

Bombers defensive end Tom Canada (left) gives defensive tackle Doug Brown a playful punch earlier this season. (Sun Media/Brian Donogh)

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Every year, during the playoffs some player looking to bring attention to himself can be counted on to toss out a quote which will end up on the opposition bulletin board.

But what kind of crap is this?

No, not Milt Stegall guaranteeing victory if Winnipeg fans fill the park for Saturday's Eastern Conference semi. That's just marketing.

I'm talking about Winnipeg's Doug Brown beaking off to a Winnipeg writer.

The commissioner should step in. This kind of talk ought not be allowed before a playoff game. It's just not in the spirit of the thing.

BEST IN BUSINESS

"That's the best interior three we play in the CFL, period," Brown spouted off about Patrick Kabongo, Dan Comiskey and John Comiskey of the Eskimos.

I chased down Kabongo and the brothers Comiskey for juicy reaction. None of them had seen the quote in question.

I asked if they were going to take that kind of talk from Brown before the biggest game of the season.

Hell no, said Kabongo.

Not without responding in sort.

"Aw, he's a great player. It's just huge for him to say that," said Kabongo. "We're brothers in the trenches and we have mutual respect."

The elder Comiskey snorted.

"Coming from him that really is a great compliment. We've played against each other a lot of years. When you're going against a guy like Doug Brown, it's never an easy game. He's a helluva player."

Little brother John couldn't believe it.

"Wow. I have a lot of respect for Doug Brown. He's one of the best, if not the best interior linemen in the CFL."

Having not heard the actual words out of Brown's mouth myself, I decided it was only fair to give the six-foot-eight, 295-pound player a chance to claim misquote or to take it all back.

"I stand by what I said," Brown declared. "I get up to play against those three guys more than I do to play against anybody else. You have to bring your 'A' game. You can never accuse Kabongo and the Comiskey brothers of playing what we call brother-in-law football. It's the most physical contests I've ever had when I go against those guys."

While Brown lines up over Kabongo, he lumps the three of them together because he moves around so much.

"I probably spend a third of the game going against Dan, a third against Kabongo and a third against John or doing whatever we're doing in terms of misdirection."

Brown, accorded the rare honour of being nominated for three CFL awards by the Winnipeg chapter of the Football Reporters of Canada -most outstanding, top defensive and top Canadian - had his nose broken inside his helmet in his last regular-season game against the Eskimos.

"I have a peculiarly shaped head," he said. "I chose to wear a helmet that gives me good vision but which causes a lot of wear and tear on my nose. I took a helmet on the face mask by an Edmonton running back. First time I actually broke my nose. It wasn't those guys."

I suggested to Brown that there must be something objectionable about Kabongo or Comiskey the elder or the younger.

"Well, there is. I could accuse those guys of their fair share of holding," he said. "But hold? Who doesn't?"

Most analysts see Brown and his buddies on the Bombers defensive line going against the three amigos and friends on the Edmonton offensive line as being the game within the game. Brown doesn't disagree.

ALL ABOUT RAY

"We'd be all kidding ourselves if we didn't believe the Edmonton Eskimos go as Ricky Ray goes," he said. "We have to succeed against him. We have to keep him from getting into a rhythm."

Brown, who writes a newspaper column and does a radio show in Winnipeg, says "I think this game is a toss-up."

He says picking a winner is to determine who will show up and have the big game, and quotes former Winnipeg coach Dave Ritchie on the subject.

"Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games."

With that in mind, by the time these guys do up their chin straps Saturday, Brown says it won't be a fuzzy, wuzzy, mutual admiration society.

"Don't be confused by the flowers on the wallpaper," he said.


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