Coulter wants 'Cats emotional

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

The voice of experience has spoken.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats centre Carl Coulter addressed his teammates -- in particular the younger ones -- this week about the importance of savouring the current playoff moment.

Coulter, who is in his 15th year in the Canadian Football League and his second go-round with the Tiger-Cats, is excited about tomorrow night's East Division semi-final game against the Argos at the SkyDome. And he imparted that message emotionally in the locker room before the players began their afternoon meetings.

"I was yelling 'don't let this be your last game. You don't know when you're going to get here again. You don't know how long it's going to take to get here again,' " Coulter said yesterday.

"I said to the younger guys, 'I ain't here for the f---ing experiment. I ain't a guinea pig. This isn't a science project here. I want to win some games. I got a couple more years left. You guys got lots of time. I don't. It's running out.'

"Not that I'm using it as a motivator but for them to understand this is a great opportunity."

Coulter has made it to the post-season seven previous times, the highlight a Grey Cup victory in 1999.

"It doesn't mean if you play a long time you're going to win one," he said. "It doesn't mean anything at all. Appreciate where where you are. If everyone does that, we should do okay. That's kind of my (message): 'If you're here playing when you're 38 years old you'll understand it, but don't wait that long. Understand it now because you can go out in practice and blow your knee out and that could be the end of it. Who knows.'"

Coulter is actually 37. His birthday is Nov. 14, which means he could be celebrating it in the Eastern final if the Tiger-Cats beat the Argos.

"It will help take my mind of getting old, I guess," he said. "It would be a great present."

SAVOURING MOMENT

Coulter is not only savouring this moment, but the entire season. He left Ottawa after two seasons to re-sign with Hamilton, where he played from 1998 to 2001, only to endure a 1-17 season.

"Last year I didn't have fun," he said. "Last year was one of those years where if you did think about not playing anymore, it was it. It was the worst I've ever experienced, but it could make you a better person, a better player, because you don't want experience that again this year."

Quarterback Danny McManus, who is seven months older than Coulter, told his veteran centre at training camp he plans on playing until he's 40. McManus reaches that age on June 17, 2005.

"I better get my (act) together and get in line, too, because he wants me to be there," Coulter said. "I don't know if I'm playing until I'm 40, but he wants me to play till he's 40. I have an option year in my contract, so hopefully things will go well and they pick it up and I come back for one more."


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