Smarten up, Buck!

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:39 AM ET

CALGARY - Last week, the CFL faced accusations they were protecting Buck Pierce when officials threw Ejiro Kuale out of a game for a late hit.

Less than seven days later, Pierce was doing nothing to protect himself in one of the biggest collisions of Week 5.

Facing the Toronto Argonauts July 23, Pierce was hit late by Kuale after releasing a pass, which drew an ejection and later a fine. The Argos argued the officials stiffened the punishment because it was the oft-injured Pierce who was the recipient of the hit.

On Thursday, Pierce was scrambling for a first down when he inexplicably lowered his head straight into the helmet of B.C. Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian.

Pierce left the game after the collision and looked dazed on the sidelines, although the team said his issue was with a calf muscle.

I think anybody would be shaking their head after that hit, Pierce said after the game. It was just another hit that gives you cobwebs for a little bit, and thats it.

People around the CFL were shaking their heads when they saw the play. All the supplementary discipline in the world against defenders wont help Pierce if he wont help himself.

Nobody ever questions his toughness. Its probably time to question his style, or his sanity. The Blue Bombers (4-1) are one major Pierce injury away from being a completely mediocre team.

If Pierce keeps lowering his head into opposing defenders, his career might be in jeopardy, let alone his season.

He does some things sometimes and you just say, What the heck is he doing?

said Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris. Thats in his demeanour. He will do anything for the extra yard. You never want to see him get injured. When you play with a lot of risk, big-time injuries can happen.

You hope he will make the right decision in that case. When he does it, you just say, Well, thats Buck.

Hes a Matt Dunigan type. He will try to run through a brick wall, even if it knocks him senseless. Thats the type of guy he is. He plays with heart and determination.

There is a time to lower the shoulder to get a first down or put the ball in the endzone that just didnt happen to be it.

When Alex Brink replaced Pierce and helped preserve a 25-20 victory over the Lions, he dropped the shoulder into defenders to secure a key first down. The key word is shoulder, not head.

You need to be fearless as a quarterback, but you have to play smart, too. Two days later, Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant dove into the endzone for a first-half touchdown against the Stampeders, but he didnt put his head in danger.

I dont let what happened to Buck or anybody else scare me, Durant said. I play my game. When you stop playing your game, thats when you get hurt.

In Bucks case, hes a competitor. Its unfortunate something like that happens. Hes been taking some big hits. But you have to play your game.

Extra points

Plucking players off other teams practice rosters is a rarity these days, but the Montreal Alouettes felt they needed to snag Canadian DL Ryan Lucas from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. With J.P. Bekasiak going out with a rib injury while tackling Ticats RB Avon Cobourne, the Als needed another non-import to join their roster. The natural replacement, Jeff Robertshaw, is on the nine-game injured list. Lucas must play for the Alouettes against the Toronto Argonauts Thursday or he goes back to the Riders Als QB Anthony Calvillo needs just nine completions to take over top spot on the all-time list from Damon Allen The last time the Eskimos started 5-0 was 1980, which was the third year of a five-straight Grey Cup run.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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