Casey's at the plate

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

This column will be posted in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats locker-room.

That's because it says here they're going to lose tonight at McMahon Stadium.

They'll do so because the league's leading rusher, Jesse Lumsden, is nursing a knee injury in Steeltown, meaning this one's all on Casey Printers.

And history has shown that when facing adversity, mighty Casey often strikes out.

Fact is, the league's Most Outstanding Player from 2004 has since shown repeatedly he's not much of a leader.

Take, for example his decision to throw teammates under the bus when cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, which was filmed for a 2007 HBO documentary called Hard Knocks.

"Look at the guys I was with, the situations we were placed in," Printers told personnel director Ray Farmer when told he was being released after the pre-season.

"Hell, I had to make chicken salad out of chicken s---."

His immaturity was on open display years earlier in Vancouver when his griping while battling Dave Dickenson for playing time caused endless turmoil.

While he was understandably upset about being sat for the 2004 Grey Cup, his subsequent whining included public rants about playing second fiddle and how little notice he was given before some starts. There were times he refused to stretch with the team and irked others by simply going through the motions in some practices.

Then came the ultimate disrespect when, after turning down a three-year, $1.2 million deal by the Leos in 2006, he slammed the Lions organization that had given him the chance to resurrect his career.

"I will not forget about how I was treated this past year as far as people kicking me while I was down," he told the Vancouver Province before signing with the Chiefs.

"I won't forget how I was toyed with. That will always stick with me."

He then had the nerve to show up before the Lions' West Final that year, which infuriated so many of his former teammates that he was asked by team brass to leave the field so as not to cause yet another distraction.

Fact is, it isn't easy finding a former teammate who has a whole lot of good things to say about the 27-year-old.

When asked about his former Hamilton teammate yesterday, Stamps linebacker JoJuan Armour walked away.

"No questions about Printers -- no comment," he said.

Word is Printers lost many in the Hamilton dressing room before he even stepped into a Tabbies jersey, calling a team meeting midway through last season right after signing a deal paying him a reported $1.5 million over three years with the desperate Ticats. Despite never having practiced with the club, he rubbed many the wrong way at the meeting by offering up his opinions why the team was 1-8.

"We're going to leave that meeting alone," said former Ticat Howard Hodges.

"It's tough to say -- Casey is just a guy who says what he feels and some people see that as a distraction," added Ryan Thelwell, a teammate of Printers' in B.C. "I didn't."

Fact is, there are things quarterbacks and other leaders simply do not say -- they keep certain things to themselves, unless they are selfish and believe things really do revolve around them.

"The whole Casey/Dave thing was blown out of proportion but we had different ideas on how to handle things," said Dickenson.

Yes, there's the classy way and there's Printers' way.

Tonight we'll see just how much a rebuilding Ticats roster wants to rally around a guy with a history of disrespect.

It says here they can't. They won't.

And who can blame them?


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