The three members of the B.C. Lions who will be heard the most Saturday are all big-picture thinkers and don’t have to be told the merits of selling themselves as part of the product.
Make no mistake though, nobody sounds wild about the idea of having their every word potentially relayed on live television while the Lions are trying to go about the important process of nailing down a home playoff date and win against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Solomon Elimimian was opposed the moment he got the word from coach/GM Wally Buono that TSN would like to have him live-wired Saturday.
“I told Wally I didn’t like it personally,” said Elimimian.
Jon Jennings (above) was even more emphatic.
“I don’t want to do it,” the quarterback said.
When the Lions watched how the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders reacted when key players were under the microphone microscope earlier this season they thought they’d seen the last of the idea.
Not so fast. Six teams will be miked up this weekend. But the Lions and Bombers will have the added stress of knowing that anything they say Saturday can and will be used against them when they play each other the following week.
It’s not as if everything uttered on the field will make it onto an open forum, as the league will have a staffer monitoring what is said by Jennings and Elimimian, plus two Winnipeg players and both head coaches.
But players are creatures of habit, and see a live mic concept as an intrusion even though many of them have been wired previously for use after the game.
Well, almost everyone. Lions coach/GM Wally Buono still doesn’t even wear a headset when at work.
“TSN has paid a lot for the TV rights. This is something they want to enhance the experience,” said Buono, who relayed that the network didn’t demand the use of the technology but instead “asked nicely.”
Backup Travis Lulay, who’ll also be heard if he gets into the game Saturday, recalls watching the Hamilton-Calgary game and wondered how comfortable he’d be if in the same situation. Both Zach Collaros and Bo Levi Mitchell said they weren’t comfortable, saying playbook language had to be changed as a result of the broadcast.
“I don’t think you can be conscious of the cameras being on you. I’ve got enough going on just to try and win a game,” said Lulay.
Elimimian said it will be no biggie after kickoff either.
“I won’t think about the mic because once the game starts it’s all about instinct,” Elimimian said.
And Buono? He says it won’t be a problem because he claims he doesn’t say anything in the first place.
“I’ll be talking to the officials, saying ‘ how could you miss that?’,” said Buono. “If that’s going to help Winnipeg, God bless them.”
LIONS TALES: Receiver Tori Gurley, signed this week by the Bombers as part of the housecleaning in Toronto, isnt expected to play against the Lions this week but could be activated for the rematch. Gurley is listed on the Bombers’ 46-man roster for Saturday’s game. Buono said he had no interest in any of the four receivers released this week by the Argos, citing the alleged comportment of the players which led to their removal… As expected Shawn Gore (concussion) and Antonio Johnson (ankle) are out of the Lions lineup. Stephen Adekolu will replace Gore while import Kelvin Palmer will make his CFL debut at right tackle for Johnson