Hicks prepared and ready

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:16 AM ET

HAMILTON — Bernard Hicks wears a tag around his neck with the inscription: “He must become greater, I must become less.”

Those words were spoken by John the Baptist in the Book of John, and they preach humility.

“It’s something I live by,” Hicks said Friday.

If there’s one position on a CFL football field that can teach humility in a hurry, it’s strong-side linebacker.

And that’s where Hicks will find himself on Saturday night when he makes his pro football debut for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

CFL veteran Clint Kent will serve as his backup.

The Bombers cut five-year veteran Ike Charlton on Monday because they felt his play had slipped.

Hicks, a 23-year-old from Fresno, Calif., has practised behind Charlton since Day 1 of training camp this year and can’t wait to make his debut.

“I’m ready to rock — and roll,” Hicks said.

Head coach Paul LaPolice has plenty of faith in the former University of California safety, whose last regular-season game was with the Golden Bears in 2008.

“I know he’s confident,” LaPolice said. “He came into my office two days ago and said ‘I’ll be ready.’ And I know from the conversations with the players he’ll be ready.

“He’s talked to everybody about getting prepared, and he spent tons of time getting ready. That’s what you want, a guy who wants to be out there and wants to compete and play hard. I’m sure looking forward to seeing him.”

Ticats quarterback Kevin Glenn said he won’t be going exclusively after Hicks, who as the strong-side linebacker must be prepared to stop both the run and the pass.

“As a player, when you start taking that kind of stuff into consideration you start worrying about the wrong things,” Glenn said. “The right thing is to execute your offence regardless of who’s out there.

“Those guys wouldn’t be up here, or they wouldn’t be added to the roster or playing, if they weren’t good enough.”

Hicks’ counterpart on the other sideline, Hamilton’s Markeith Knowlton, has appeared in 73 CFL games, many of them as a starting strong-side linebacker. He even had a little bit of advice for Hicks.

“This being his first game, he’s going to get a workout,” Knowlton said. “You gotta be fearless. You can’t be intimidated by anything. You just gotta go out and play.

“Don’t try to do anything out of the ordinary and don’t freelance.”

A little prayer probably wouldn’t hurt, either.


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