Pilon family reunion on gridiron

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

So much for brotherly love.

The fraternal bond with Marc Pilon of the Renegades and Jeff Pilon of the Calgary Stampeders will stay on the sidelines during tomorrow's game between the two teams at Frank Clair Stadium.

For the first time in their careers, the brothers will line up on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage -- Marc on Ottawa's defensive line, and Jeff on Calgary's offensive line.

They're prepared to run each other over, all in the name of team pride.

"I'm not looking forward to playing against my brother because we're pretty much best friends," said Marc Pilon after yesterday's practice.

"As long as he doesn't cheap-shot me or take any liberties, we'll remain that way."

MOTHER WILL BE THERE

Perhaps the person most nervous of all to be in attendance at the game will be their mother.

"I pray that both of them don't get hurt," said Rosalie Carroll, the family matriarch who brought Marc into the world in February of 1975, then Jeff 13 months later.

She'll be wearing white, to show no sign of favouritism toward one of the sides. And she'll be carrying a medal of St. Anthony.

"He's the saint that helps you find things, so I'll be praying that they'll both find inner strength."

The brothers have worked against each other before during practices when they were teammates growing up in Ottawa, and in their university and pro careers.

They were teammates in minor football with the Gloucester Raiders, in high school at St. Pius X, and both attended Syracuse University where they both played for the Orangemen on scholarship.

Marc had a brief stint with the NFL's New York Jets before beginning his CFL career in Calgary in 1999.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers drafted Jeff Pilon in 1999, but traded him to the Stampeders the next year, and the brothers were teammates in Calgary for parts of two seasons, including in 2001 when the Stamps won the Grey Cup.

SIGNED WITH EDMONTON

But Marc became a free agent after the championship and signed with Edmonton for the 2002 season.

They would have faced each other on opposite sides of scrimmage that year, but a season-ending knee injury early in the year wiped out Marc's year before that could happen.

Marc played for B.C. the last two years, but spent most of his time on special-teams units and never had a chance to compete against Jeff when the Lions met the Stampeders.

Now they'll get that chance in an actual game situation.

"It's going to be hard for my family. They're going to have to be focused on both of us, so they're the ones who are worried," said Marc.

"They don't want one to do better than the other. They want us to both do well," said Marc.

The brothers operate a football camp in May, and co-own a sports equipment business. But tomorrow, they'll be ignoring all the connections.

"Football is your job, and you've got to do your assignment. And if you don't do your assignment, you're not going to be around for long," said Marc. "This is our living, and we've got to stick with it.

As long as it's clean, I have no problem with him knocking the crap out of me, and me knocking the crap out of him."

Their mother would have a problem with that.

"They've never caused me any anguish," she said.

"The only anguish, really, is from me worrying that one of them could get hurt."

Marc Pilon figures the brotherly bond will remain intact -- no matter what happens in the game.

"I think he's the best O-lineman in the league, and I hope he's my biggest fan."


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