The Ottawa Redblacks’ defensive corps will need to dig a little deeper for their next game.
Ottawa will be without veteran linebacker Kyries Hebert when the Redblacks play the Montreal Alouettes Friday. Hebert will be serving a one-game suspension for a direct hit to the head on Calgary Stampeders receiver DaVaris Daniels.
Hebert, a former Alouette who was likely looking forward to facing his former team, still has the option to appeal the suspension.
Avery Williams will be the next man up to replace Hebert in the lineup while defensive ends A.C. Leonard, Jonathan Newsome and Avery Ellis could return after all three left Thursday’s game against Calgary.
Hebert has been fined three times before.
“It’s the persona that he was trying to create for himself right, the angry bird,” Ottawa tailback Brendan Gillanders said of Hebert’s reputation. “He’s going to play to the limit every single time and it’s a double-edged sword when you put yourself out there like that. You’re going to put yourself on notice to league officials and stuff like that.
“At the same time it’s a persona that guys can get around. I think having him on our defence makes our whole defence hit a little bit harder and hopefully it pays off later in the season with a couple more fumble opportunities.”
Gillanders was on the receiving end of a Hebert hit in 2016 that resulted in his second fine. The 37-year-old Hebert also received the maximum fine for a hit on Toronto quarterback Cody Fajardo last season, and took Calgary running back Jon Cornish out in 2014 with a forearm to the head that left the Canadian concussed.
Gillanders said he’s since forgiven Hebert for the 2016 hit.
“We’re cool about it,” Gillanders said. “We talked about it once in a meeting and he said honestly he didn’t mean to catch me in the head and like I said when guys are running at full speed in opposite directions it happens, so we’re all good.”
Hebert did not take part in practice drills Monday. He stood on the sidelines and was not made available to the media.
Ottawa Defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe said Hebert’s aggressive and physical style of play is well suited to his system.
“We like the way he plays, he’s a physical football player,” said Thorpe. “It’s pretty much cut and dry. His example of how he leads on the field through his play and through his tempo is contagious and infectious. Other guys are playing that way and that’s the expectation of everybody on defence, not just one player, and that’s great motivation.”