Eskimo holds no grudge

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:40 AM ET

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

It’s what former Montreal Alouettes linebacker T.J. Hill had to do to finally win a game in Commonwealth Stadium.

Since entering the CFL with Montreal in 2007, Hill led the team in tackles twice in a row and was an East Division all-star before being a surprise release prior to the 2009 season.

The Eskimos picked him up in time for a 33-19 win over his old club in Week 5 last year.

“It was a great win, at the time they were 4-0 and they were doing some great things,” Hill said of the Alouettes.

“We had a great game plan, we came in here with a passion, like we weren’t going to be denied.”

The Eskimos are 5-1 at home against the Alouettes, including the last three straight.

“I never won here while I was there (playing for Montreal). Edmonton was a difficult place to play, they’re conscious of that and I’m quite sure they’re trying to break the streak of not being too successful here at Commonwealth,” said Hill.

“But that’s then, I wear Green and Gold now, so it’s up to me and these other guys to keep that streak alive.”

Hill said he doesn’t bear any sort of grudge against the Alouettes.

“Personally, I don’t have a problem getting up for any game because you’ve got to have a passion for this game,” Hill said.

“Any time you come out here, you’ve got to play to the best of your ability. Just because I’m playing against my former team, it’s no different from when we were playing against B.C. last week.

“I approach each game like it’s my last game, this week it just happens to be Montreal.”

Hill hadn’t joined the Eskimos in time for a 50-16 loss in Montreal in Week 2, which was the low point of the 2009 season, but he was cheering for the Green and Gold.

“I had a little bitter-sweet situation going on at that time,” said Hill, who was in the midst of working out a deal with the Eskimos.

“I wasn’t here in Edmonton at the time.”

But he arrived to help turn the tide in the rematch.

“You don’t want to lose anytime, but it was the way that they lost,” Hill said.

“It was one of those things that you want to just put aside, but then again there were some things that we took from that that helped us prepare for the next time that we played them. We took that film and we broke down a lot of things and it helped us when we played them three weeks later.”

Of course, the Alouettes went on to win the Grey Cup over the Saskatchewan Roughriders while the Eskimos didn’t get past the West Division semifinal.

“I don’t feel like I missed out,” Hill said.

“Congratulations to them, they had a tremendous year last year. It’s 2010 now, it’s a new year.”

He still has plenty of friends in the Alouettes locker-room.

“You build friendships and you have memories, but at the end of the day it’s a fine line,” he said.

“Because when we get in between those white lines tomorrow, friend or no friend, I’m all about the Green and Gold.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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