TORONTO - Twitter ban be damned.
There were a few Calgary Stampeders too excited to avoid announcing their presence Tuesday once their plane touched down in the Big Smoke.
While their bus was making its way through the downtown traffic en route to the hotel, there were messages sent from players despite head coach John Hufnagel’s request a week ago for them to stay off Twitter until after Grey Cup.
“TORONTO!!!!” yelled right tackle Stanley Bryant.
“Toronto we Here,” receiver Marquay McDaniel said.
“Heard some great things about Toronto...lets see what its talkin about!!!” defensive back Derrius Brooks shouted.
This is a business trip in every sense, but there is no doubt it’s a special feeling being at the 100th Grey Cup.
The trick will be to treat it like a regular trip when it completely isn’t normal in any way.
The good news is that the Stampeders travel well. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Stamps are 17-10 away from home, and by beating the B.C. Lions last Sunday, they picked up their sixth road win this season.
The only places they didn’t win were in Toronto and Montreal.
“Our guys keep their focus when they do leave Calgary and know that they are on a business trip and they have a job to do,” Hufnagel said. “They try to do it very well.”
There is another reason why this trip isn’t all that normal.
Every single healthy player, whether he’s expected to suit up in Sunday’s Grey Cup or not, came with the team.
To get all the players to the hotel, it took two buses from the airport. A lot of them have never been to the big game before, but surprisingly, the one with the video camera out upon arrival was quarterback Kevin Glenn.
He is back in Toronto for a Grey Cup, but unlike 2007 when he broke his arm in the East final, he will suit up Sunday.
“I’m still in awe,” Glenn said. “Still in shock. I’m excited. I’m happy. This is going to be a long week. The thing for us is to stay mentally ready. Mentally tough.
“Throughout the day, we were encouraging everybody to stay hungry. Just because we got here doesn’t mean anything. We want to go and win it.
“This is legendary. For it to be the 100th Grey Cup and we’re actually playing in it, everybody is relishing the excitement. We want to treat it like a regular week. We don’t want to add any pressure. There is enough pressure already.”
The gravity of walking into their hotel for Grey Cup week wasn’t lost on Nik Lewis.
In eight previous seasons, Lewis has gone to the big game just once, so it’s not like he’s getting tired of this feeling.
“Now I’m starting to understand it’s not too often that you get here, unless you are Anwar Stewart (ninth time) or Tad Kornegay (fifth),” said Lewis, referring to veteran teammates.
“I want to embrace this opportunity and embrace this time. I will come out and have a good time during Grey Cup week.”
WEST IS THE BEST (DRESSED?)
On the four-hour flight from Calgary, the Stampeders offensive line must have grown an inch or two.
Or maybe it was just the boots the West division champions were wearing.
Hogtown got a new meaning when the earth-movers from the Stampeders offence stepped off the bus at their downtown Toronto hotel.
Decked in full western gear from head to toe, complete with dark hats, the hoggies were towering over the waiting media throng more than usual.
On Monday, upon hearing from head coach John Hufnagel there were two options for attire on the trip to the 100th Grey Cup, the offensive line chose No. 2. It was either business suits or cowboy chic, so they opted for the latter.
Centre Jon Gott was the ringleader, and he was the only one wearing a western string tie (“I thought it added a bit extra to it,” he said.)
Obby Khan had a sheriff’s badge on his outfit, a sign that he’s the oldest and therefore the most mature.
“Anyone can wear a suit and tie,” Khan said. “Not everyone is a cowboy.
“We’re representing Calgary with some pride. We’re the Western cowboys. It’s good to get it done. It’s fun. Once in a year if you are lucky you get to dress up for such a special occasion. The offensive line, since we are the best-looking, best-dressed, most-fun guys on the team, we thought we would take it upon ourselves to do it.”