Dealing With Adversity Nothing New for Austin’s Ticats

FBO CFL Grey Cup 201411130Another day, another major injury for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The team announced earlier today that 2014 East Division all-star Eric Norwood has been put on the six-game injured list following a domestic incident at his home last night that required the 252 lbs. defensive lineman to get stitches.

To fill Norwood’s spot on the roster, the team activated Ray Holley from the practice roster and re-signed Sam Scott after he was released during the final round of cuts the team announced on Sunday.

The Norwood injury is just the latest in a long line of injuries that the Ticats have been forced to deal with the last couple of months. Back in May, both Linden Gaydosh and Spencer Watt suffered season-ending Achilles injuries on the same day. That was followed by a slew of training camp injuries. Defensive tackle Brian Bulcke and running back Mossis Madu were lost for the year after suffering knee and shoulder injuries, respectively, early in training camp; Rico Murray has not practice in weeks and is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury; and last year’s leading receiver Luke Tasker is out for at least one week, if not more, with what has been called a “lower body injury” that was suffered about a week ago. It is just one blow after another and one has to wonder when it will stop.

But dealing with adversity is nothing new for the Ticats under the stewardship of head coach and general manager Kent Austin. In 2013, the team dressed more players than any team in CFL history, and last season the team nearly matched their 2013 number, and went over the salary cap due to it. They have also been forced to play home games in three separate locations, with a full season at Alumni Stadium on the University of Guelph campus in 2013, followed by a three-game stint at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium to open up the 2014 season before the team was finally able to move into their new home, Tim Hortons Field, on Labour Day.

This year, they once again find themselves put out because the Pan Am Games will be occupying Tim Hortons Field during the early stages of the 2015 season. The Ticats will play their first four games on the road, starting in Calgary this Friday, and will not play a home game until the Civic Holiday Monday versus the Toronto Argonauts.

But in despair, there is hope. Despite dealing with all this hardship, the Ticats have managed to climb the standings and represent the East in the Grey Cup the last two seasons. Adversity, it seems, is something the Ticats not just deal with, but thrive under. It may not be ideal, but the team has proven that they can overcome any issues that creep up during the long and arduous CFL season. The injury to Norwood is just the latest hurdle that the team will need to jump in order to get to where they ultimately want to go. They have not let it stop them in the past, and they will not let it stop now.

But all hope is not lost, and perhaps the Ticats fortunes are turning. Bakari Grant, who missed practice today and worried Ticats fans in the process, is expected to be in the lineup for Friday’s Grey Cup rematch with the Stampeders.

Maybe things are finally starting to look up for the men in black and gold.

I mean, it can’t get any worse… right?


Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.