Casey chase is on

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:19 PM ET

HAMILTON -- The last time the Winnipeg Blue Bombers bumped into Casey Printers was on Oct. 22, 2005.

Printers guided the B.C. Lions to a 41-1 thrashing of the Bombers at B.C. Place that night, essentially ending the Jim Daley era in Winnipeg.

It was also arguably the lowest moment for the Bombers franchise since the end of Jeff Reinebold's days in the late 1990s.

"I've blocked that part of my memory out as far as football's concerned," said Bombers defensive end Tom Canada, who was in his second CFL season at the time. "Anything that had to do with that season I no longer remember."

"So no, I don't remember."

The Bombers meet Printers again tonight at Ivor Wynne Stadium in the annual Hall of Fame Game, but the circumstances could not be more different.

Printers is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' new quarterback after an unsuccessful, two-year crack at the NFL. Earning nearly $500,000 per season, he will be asked to turn around a franchise that has floundered for the past three years and is currently 1-9 (their only win, of course, a 43-22 pounding of Winnipeg on Aug. 3).

The Bombers, meanwhile, may be feeling the best they've felt since that dismal night in B.C. 23 months ago. They lead the East Division at 6-3-1, they are coming off their best performance in years (a 34-15 win over Saskatchewan), and they don't fear Printers like they used to.

"I do remember where we were and where we are now," Canada said, his memory starting to come back. "It feels good to be here. Now that I think about it, I do remember going into a game against that guy and being like, 'What are we going to do against this guy?'

"Now, he's a definitely a great quarterback, but I can honestly say we're confident and we're ready for the challenge."

Printers said in a CBC interview last weekend that his goal is to be the best quarterback in the world. Tonight he'll attempt to be the better pivot on the field against Kevin Glenn and the high-flying Bombers.

Printers is nothing if not confident, and he hopes his enthusiasm will rub off on his teammates.

"Hopefully it provides a spark," Printers said. "Once they see me with the never-say-die attitude, once they see me willing to take a hit, once they see me diving, scraping, scratching for every inch that I can get, that will no doubt go into their minds and go, 'If he can do it, I can too.'

"I can't do everything, and it's not about one guy. It's about I'm just one twelfth of the puzzle, and that's what I keep telling guys. I'm just a piece."

Bombers middle linebacker Barrin Simpson said keeping that "piece" of the Ticats offence contained is imperative.

"Make him make plays from the pocket," said Simpson, who was Printers' teammate in B.C. "That's what you gotta do with Casey, because the minute you start letting him get outside the pocket, it extends the play.

"Everybody thinks he's going to run when he gets outside the pocket, but he's looking to throw it. He will run, but he's looking to throw it."

That means Canada and Co. will have some work to do to prevent the crowd from whipping into a frenzy. The free spirit from California has a unique plan to stop the Steel City saviour.

"Pray. Everyone seems to think he's God, so I was thinking if I said a prayer before the game I might be all right," Canada quipped.

"Hey, he's a talented guy, and he has the ability to win football games. Anyone who's seen him play knows that. But he is human, if you can believe it."


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