In going over the team injury report during daily sessions with the media, Joe Paopao invariably signs off with one of his favourite players.
"Kelly Wiltshire," says the Renegades coach, who starts listing the veteran's various bumps and bruises and finally just shrugs. "Everything."
The same all-out, aggressive style employed by Wiltshire that endears him to Paopao and most hard-core football fans also makes the guy's streak almost unbelievable. Yet tonight, two weeks less a day after he left a game in B.C. with a hamstring injury, Wiltshire will be in the lineup for his 135th consecutive game -- 144th in a row counting playoffs and two Grey Cup appearances.
HAS NEVER MISSED A GAME
The 32-year-old Montrealer has not only never missed a game in his eight-season CFL career, he also doesn't remember ever missing a game in his life, period.
"I want to play the game," Wiltshire, who leads all Renegades in total tackles with 30, said yesterday. "As a kid, it was the highlight of my week. It's still the highlight of my week."
It's not that he hasn't been hurt doing it. In 2001, his final season with the Alouettes, Wiltshire broke his ankle in Game 18 of the regular season, against Edmonton. Yet the following week he refused to sit on the sidelines and watch a playoff showdown with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
In college, he recalls spraining an ankle that required him to submerge it in a bucket of ice two or three times a day.
"The treatment hurt more than the injury," he said.
There have been various other pains -- a "sublexed shoulder" near the end of last season high among them -- but none to which he has succumbed.
"It's the will to play," said Wiltshire, an East Division all-star in both 1998 and 2003. "It won't allow me to be kept off the field.
"I see guys with injuries take 2-3 weeks off when maybe they could have played. I don't want to get into that mode.
"I'm a pretty good healer, and I work out like a freak. I'm in the weightroom every day after a game. It's the hardest day of the week, but it's important to get in there and get through it."
The longest consecutive games played streak in CFL history is owned by former Blue Bombers punter Bob Cameron, who strung together 353 in a row during his 20-year career. Of all non-kickers, former Ottawa Rough Rider/B.C. Lion/Edmonton Eskimo offensive lineman Leo Groenewegen holds the record at 252. Of the positions that require more running, nobody has played more consecutive games than ex-Saskatchewan receiver Donald Narcisse's 208. And when it comes to the jobs that require running and hitting, former Argo Don Moen is in a class of his own at 198 consecutive games played.
But when it comes to current-day CFL ironmen, the top two names on the list are Winnipeg kicker Troy Westwood (232) and Wiltshire.
"It's important to me, to a certain degree," Wiltshire says of the streak. "At this point in my career, I don't just rely on my athletic ability. I use my brain, and I add leadership. If I didn't feel like I was physically healthy enough, but I could still bring the other qualities, I'd go in.
"I feel I'm honest about it with the coaches. I've just been fortunate to never have missed a game."
Considering the way he plays and how good he is, that's also fortunate for the Renegades.