Neck issues scratch Esks’ Hill
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards loses his helmet while being tackled by Edmonton Eskimos linebacker T.J. Hill during their game in Winnipeg in this August 5, 2011 file photo. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Talk about a pain in the neck.
The Edmonton Eskimos had to make some last-minute manoeuvers to their depth chart after finding out just 90 minutes before Friday’s game that linebacker T.J. Hill was no longer available to play.
“It’s a neck ... shoulder ... back, it’s all connected. It’s going to probably be a weekly thing,” Hill said in the Eskimos locker-room after being scratched from the lineup for the first time in his CFL career. “I was banged up because it was a short week. I tried to get back, tried to eliminate some of the pain, we were trying to do everything we could do but last minute we felt the best thing was for me not to play.”
Besides the first three weeks of the 2009 season when Hill found himself between teams after getting released at the end of training camp by the Montreal Alouettes, the linebacker never missed a game and never finished a season without leading his team in tackles since his rookie season in 2007.
“It was a hard pill to swallow, I mean, it was the first game I ever missed,” Hill said. “I had to do what I felt was best for the team.
“I’d rather have been out there, but it wouldn’t have been a wise choice as far as from a health standpoint.”
Instead, he watched helplessly from the sidelines as the Eskimos dropped their first game of the season to the rival Calgary Stampeders, 30-20.
“It was tough,” Hill said. “We left some plays out there. Give credit to Calgary, they made the plays when they had to but we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.
“Basically, we’ve got to capitalize, we left a lot of opportunities out there on both sides of the ball. We’re going to get better.”
And so will Hill. The only question is, when.
“I’m always expecting to play,” he said. “If it was really up to me and if I could stand the pain as much, I would have tried to play (Friday).”