Anthony Malbrough knows exactly what's going through a defensive back's head when he lines up against Milt Stegall these days.
"If I was in those guys' position, you better believe I'd be doing the same thing," the Bombers defensive back said yesterday.
"I would be pulling, pushing, grabbing, tackling. You don't want to go down in history like that."
Stegall needs one touchdown to become the CFL's all-time leader, but he's being held up -- literally -- in his pursuit of the record.
The Winnipeg slotback, who has gone three games without a touchdown, has been getting a rough ride once he gets past the line of scrimmage. TSN documented some of the penalties that could've been called during the broadcast of Winnipeg's 20-18 win over Montreal on Thursday.
B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon, last year's top receiver in the CFL, expressed concerns about the clutching and grabbing in an interview with the Vancouver Sun last week, to which Stegall responded yesterday: "Welcome to the club!"
Stegall, it should be noted, is not complaining about the illegal activity he's enduring, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't discuss the subject when asked about it yesterday. He said the jersey tugging and bumps he's getting are nothing new, but he admitted the frequency has increased this season as he pursues the record.
'MAKE IT FAIR'
"It's not like it's anything new," Stegall said. "And Geroy would tell you the same things. It's been happening.
"DBs will tell you they're going to do as much as they let them get away with. If I was a DB I'd do the same thing, but let's make it fair."
For the record, a defender is allowed to make contact with a receiver within one yard of the line of scrimmage or if the receiver is about to block them downfield. That, of course, can become a grey area.
George Black, the CFL's director of officiating, said he will remind his officials this week to keep any eye on the situation, but doesn't want them focusing solely on Stegall or Simon.
"As you can imagine, I don't think we want to single out any player in the league and give him special attention, either pro or con," Black said.
"We'll bring it to the guys' attention this week to make sure it's a fair fight."
Malbrough admits that, as a defensive back, he does every-thing in his power -- legal or otherwise -- to prevent a receiver from making the big catch.
"The officials just have to call what they see, because being a veteran guy sometimes I'm going to do some things, sometimes I'm not," he said. "I'm not going to do it every play."
Opposing DBs over the last few weeks have said they don't care if Stegall gets the record while they're covering him; all they want is the victory.
Hogwash, says Malbrough.
"Nobody wants to be in the history books," he said. "They're lying. I'm telling you they're lying, because I would care."