EDMONTON - It turns out the biggest cheap shot in last Friday’s game was taken after the final whistle blew.
B.C. Lions defensive tackle Aaron Hunt publicly called the Edmonton Eskimos offensive line “dirty” in a TSN interview after his team won 33-24, challenging CFL officials to review game film.
He followed up in a team rundown on the weekend by publicly accusing unit coach Tim Prinsen of coaching his players to grab the groin and facemasks of opposing defensive linemen.
“Aaron Hunt made that statement and Aaron’s entitled to his opinion,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “I really hope that some people would just shut up and play football. Period. Just shut up and play football.
“I do not coach dirty football. Coach Prinsen doesn’t do that. That’s not the Edmonton Eskimo football way. Just shut up and play football. Period.”
Instead of defending against the accusations on Monday, the Eskimos O-line was focused on protecting Ricky Ray on the field.
“I teach my guys to play physically and to the edge of the whistle. Beyond that, there’s not much more to say,” said Prinsen, who played on the Eskimos O-line from 2000-04. “We played hard and we played physical back when I played too, so it’s the way I believe the game should be played.”
The line of scrimmage sees the most physically demanding positions in the game, and no one denies things get out of hand at times — or is it in hand?
“I’m sure accidents like that happen, but as a group, we pride ourselves on playing to the whistle and playing aggressive. I think that’s how the game has to be played,” said left guard Brian Ramsay, who saw a lot of Hunt on the interior of the line Friday. “They won the game and if he feels like he has to say something after, then I guess he does.”
The extra-curricular activities that go on in the pile aren’t often a topic of public conversation, leading conspiracy theorists of the game to believe in some sort of unwritten code of conduct.
“If there’s a code, then I wouldn’t be telling you,” Ramsay said, shrugging.
Reed said there is no need for one anyway.
“Players should never say that, especially when they don’t watch the film and see what happens on the opposite side of the ball,” Reed said. “I could take out a number of clips where we could make the same assessment, but that’s not football.
“Football is a gladiator sport and if you’re not a gladiator, you should not play.”
On Friday, the Lions came up with three sacks, but were flagged for a season-high 15 penalties.
BIRTHDAY BREAK: QB Kerry Joseph turns 38 years young Tuesday.
“Hey, man, keep that quiet,” laughed the senior statesman of the Eskimos locker-room. “It will be good to sit around, I was actually hoping to get one more round of golf in, but it doesn’t look like the weather’s going to co-operate with me.
“It’s good to have the day off. I wish my wife was here, but she’s not getting in until Saturday, so I’ll celebrate with her after a win on Monday.”
Joseph is the third-eldest player in the CFL, next to 39-year-old Anthony Calvillo and Paul McCallum, 41.