A kiss for Ricky?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

HAMILTON -- The Kissing Bandit is up to his old tricks.

Blowing a kiss to a lady and kissing an unsuspecting media member on the cheek, Tiger-Cat defensive tackle Adriano Belli was in fine form yesterday morning at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

The hulking Italian lineman has been known to get a tad excited on the field -- like after making a big sack -- and kissing people in celebration, hence the Kissing Bandit nickname.

And Ricky Ray is next on his hit list -- or kissing wish list, if you will.

Belli wants to drop Ray in the backfield tonight when the Tiger-Cats host the Eskimos and blow him a kiss as a parting gift.

"He's a cute little guy," said Belli. "I hope I can ruffle his feathers a little bit."

The second-year Ticat also does other things on the field to get inside a quarterback's head.

"I'm not an ($#@$) to anybody in terms of yelling at guys and trying to intimidate them. I'd rather get somebody off their game by pinching their ass or flirting with them than yelling at them," continued Belli, a 28-year-old Toronto native who stands six-feet, 290 pounds.

"We are all men out here. Nobody gets scared if you yell at somebody."

And there are some previous antics from the heat of the moment that can't be printed.

"I've done things that I can't tell you right now," he explained.

But he did say this: "If we can put Ricky on the ground and ruin his day, we have a shot at winning the game."

Pressure on Ray -- or lack thereof -- is one of the keys to the game.

In their only previous meeting this year, Ray had time to torch Hamilton's secondary for five touchdown strikes and 396 yards in a 36-30 Edmonton win..

But Hamilton is home to one of the top defensive front-four units in the league, even though Joe Montford left for Edmonton in the off-season.

James Cotton, who replaced Montford, entered the week with eight sacks, just one off the league lead. Tim Cheatwood has returned from the NFL and has four sacks in just five games. He led the CFL in sacks last year with 14.

"We don't have any fat asses," stated Belli, who lines up beside sophomore defensive tackle Devonte Peterson, "and we are hard on each other."

Added Cheatwood: "I don't feel we should have any problem with any offensive line in the CFL if we do our assignment right and play at 100 per cent."

If they do, Belli will be puckering his lips with Ray on the ground.

"(Belli) is a guy that plays a little different out there," said Ray, who admitted it's a little "freaky" playing against a man hoping to kiss him.

"Hopefully our O-line will protect me and keep him from getting in there and laying his hands on me."


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