Mariuz returns to Tiger-Cats
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
HAMILTON - It took all of one practice for Ray Mariuz to feel right at home.
For the native of Mississauga, home is on the gridiron, a place Mariuz is quite comfortable, whether he’s asked to line up at linebacker or play special teams.
With the Ticats in need of depth, the team reached out to their former special teams captain and lured Mariuz out of retirement.
“It’s like ground hound day,’’ the affable Mariuz said following Tuesday’s practice. “It feels like I never left actually. It’s like I never missed a step.”
Mariuz admits he would have continued his post-football life had Hamilton not reached out and asked he’d be interested in a return.
“The fall weather, a playoff run, I didn’t have the will power to stay away,’’ he said. “The shot at one more Grey Cup is ultimately what I’m here for.”
Whether it was an Argo or as a Ticat, the nine-year veteran leaves everything out on the field.
Timing being everything, Mariuz admits the opportunity to come back was right.
“It was now over never,” he said. “Football is not a game where you could be out for a few years and come back. I thought I won’t have this opportunity again.
“I’d probably regret it if I didn’t join them.”
After watching Mariuz, Ticat head coach Marcel Bellefeuille saw the same player he watched the last two years.
“He moved around well,” Bellefeuille said. “It’s like riding a bike for guys who have been around.
“I’m sure after a week or two he’ll be the same old Ray.
“He’s a fitness for life kind of guy. He’s in good shape, but we’re not going to overload him right away.”