Esks' Barnes battles back
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Last Fridayís touchdown meant a lot more than seven preseason points to Jason Barnes.
The Eskimos slotback found the end zone for the first time since suffering a ruptured spleen and bruising a kidney and lung after getting hit by a pair of Hamilton Ticats defenders last October.
The hit ended his season and left some in the Eskimos organization questioning whether he would ever play again.
Instead of worrying about questions, Barnes focused on getting himself healthy and back in playing shape ó only to be released the day before training camp due to completely separate concerns over his ankle during medical evaluations.
It wasnít the first discouragement Barnes received, after coming off the practice roster to start the final four games of the 2009 season, then being demoted to scout-team duties to start 2010 with the brief return of Kelly Campbell.
But Barnes isnít one to focus on the negative.
ďIt felt good just being back out there with my teammates and everything,Ē Barnes said in response to being asked about his 29-yard touchdown reception from Ricky Ray.
ďIt definitely felt good, even though it was a loss. It just felt good to get out there and run around again.
ďItís been a long time just to get out there and get hit again and get in the flow of the game. Iím back to 100%, mentally and physically. Itís just like riding a bike.Ē
Except heís riding through a field full of defenders looking to knock him down.
But the danger isnít as prevalent in Barnesí mind as much as hanging onto the ball and making plays.
ďIím not even thinking about it when Iím out there,Ē he said.