Big hit worries Argos

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

Football players, as dictated by the rough nature of their sport, put their careers in their hands each time they step on to the field.

But the prevailing opinion is the neck injury suffered by Edmonton Eskimos receiver Jason Tucker on Friday night in Hamilton can't be the trigger for second thoughts about what CFL players do for a living.

"Every guy knows that any play out there could be his last," Argos running back Jeff Johnson said. "But you don't think about that. You can't. When you start second-guessing about those things, it's time to retire.

VIOLENT GAME

"It's a violent game and that is part of the passion and the fire behind it."

Tucker was hurt when he and Tiger-Cats defensive back Jykine Bradley collided after Tucker made a catch.

The innocent-looking play, which has been described as a helmet-to-helmet hit, resulted in two fractured vertebrae in Tucker's neck.

He had surgery late Saturday night in Hamilton and the Eskimos hope Tucker, who was sitting up in bed after the surgery and should be walking soon, can return to Edmonton by the end of the week.

But it's not clear whether Tucker, who was earning a reputation for making circus-like catches, will play again.

"Any time you see somebody go down with a neck injury, it's scary," Argonauts defensive end Jonathan Brown said. "One thing we do, when we go out and talk to young minor football players, is we tell them to always hit with their face up. When your head is down, that can mess you up.

"My prayers went right to Jason when I saw that play. You never know what is going to happen."

WILLIAMS GETS NOD

Meanwhile, the Ticats likely will go with quarterback Richie Williams to start Thursday night against the Alouettes in Montreal.

No. 1 quarterback Casey Printers has not been good, and his situation got worse when he hurt his thumb against the Eskimos.


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