Motivation aplenty

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

It's the first meeting between Barrin and B.C., and it's happening right here in Winnipeg.

Blue Bombers middle linebacker Barrin Simpson decided at the end of last season that he was done playing for Wally Buono and the B.C. Lions.

His contract was up, and he was going to play elsewhere.

Remarkably, only about two hours into free agency, Bombers GM Brendan Taman had Simpson's name on a contract.

Simpson has been one of the main reasons why the Winnipeg defence is arguably the best in the CFL right now.

And now he gets to strut his stuff against his former team on Thursday night at Canad Inns Stadium.

"It's just another game," Simpson said with a sly smile. "It wasn't like I was released. I left under my own terms. I finished my contract there, and I left on my own terms, so it's just another game.

"I'm going to be motivated to play, but I'm motivated to play every game. It's just one of them things; I get to hit my former teammates now. That's going to be the fun part."

The Lions, after a slow start to the season, have begun to gather steam. No one knows how to stop that more than Simpson, who spent his first five CFL seasons in Vancouver.

"They got a very good offence, probably top three in the league," Simpson said. "We gotta be on our game. We gotta keep it physical. If we go out there and be physical, we'll disrupt the way they do things.

"If we go out there and hit them, and hit them often, like we usually do, we'll disrupt the pattern of their offence."

The Lions have been hit hard by injuries to their receiving corps (Jason Clermont may be back Aug. 10, while Tony Simmons is gone for the year), but they still boast perhaps the top quarterback in the league in Dave Dickenson.

Simpson figures he has the key to stopping the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 2000.

"The thing that you have to do is Dave is get to him, make him take his eyes from down the field," Simpson said. "Once you start getting a lot of pressure on Dave, he tends to take his eyes off the receivers and starts looking at the pressure that's coming.

"We need to get that pressure on him, get some big hits on him early, and it will change the pace of the game. It'll change his accuracy."

"It'll be awfully physically -- awfully, awfully physical," he added with a laugh.

Then, after saying once more that he's not bitter towards B.C. and overjoyed to be in Winnipeg, Simpson had some final words.

They spoke volumes.

"I'm going to be motivated. I'm going to be motivated. I'm going to be motivated."


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