RedBlacks raring to play first game of season

RedBlacks' Kierrie Johnson catches a pass during practice at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa on Friday,...

RedBlacks' Kierrie Johnson catches a pass during practice at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa on Friday, June 27, 2014. (Tony Caldwell/QMI Agency)

TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:33 PM ET

OTTAWA - Two days away from making history, from playing their first regular-season game in franchise history, the Ottawa RedBlacks are talking about respect.

Throw the expansion franchise moniker aside, it's respect they're hoping to get on the field, the same kind of respect that linebacker and captain T.J. Hill has been fighting for much of his seven-year CFL tenure.

Hill, who was released by the Edmonton Eskimos after making 94 tackles last season (he's got 542 tackles, 12 sacks and 13 interceptions in his excellent CFL career so far), isn't dwelling on the lack of accolades he gets. It gnaws at him a bit that he's so often overlooked, but he's a team leader and with him, it's team first.

"Someone mentioned that to me, 'You're one of the leaders on the team, but you've really flown under the radar and don't get much media attention," said Hill, who, at 5-foot-9, 195 lbs., is a warrior playing the hybrid SAM linebacker position. "That's been my story my whole career. I could write a book about it."

To a man, the RedBlacks are anxious to play Game 1 Thursday night in Winnipeg and they're excited about what lies ahead in a future that looks nothing but bright.


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