Austin says Ticats won’t seek trade to replace Collaros

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Kent Austin, coach and general manager of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats intimates that the team will not try to find a veteran backup quarterback to support Jeff Mathews, who will take over the reins from injured Zach Collaros.

Mathews was pulled from Saturday’s home field loss to the Edmonton Eskimos after throwing three interceptions, two of which were returned from touchdowns. Collaros injured his right knee earlier in the game and was diagnosed Monday with a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

“Who might that be?” Austin said when asked about the possibility of landing a veteran presence in the quarterbacking ranks to go with second-year Ticats  Mathews and Jacory Harris, who took over in relief of Mathews Saturday, and Jeremiah Masoli, the only one of the trio who has started a regular-season game for Hamilton.

“I understand the question and why others outside the organization thinks that is wise. The problem is that there’s a huge learning curve in our offence, especially under centre. Conceptually to understand what we’re doing, and just in terminology alone.

“Just having veteran status alone doesn’t necessarily equal the best thing to do. Having experience in our offence and understanding how to execute the offence, in my opinion, can be more important than experience. Sometimes experience just for experience itself is not necessarily a plus.”

Collaros spoke to the media Tuesday morning for the first time since his diagnosis and said, “I feel good. I’m okay. I was bummed, I’m still kind of bummed, we were having a good season – and we’re still going to have a great season – everything felt it was clicking.”

He will stay in Hamilton, and with the team, before and after the surgery he will undergo once the swelling in his knee recedes. He has been told that the recovery process will take nine months, but says that estimate is probably on the long side.

And he says he’ll be helping Mathews, Harris and Masoli while he’s injured.

“I just want to be part of something,” he said.

Austin said that Collaros’s biggest contribution to the three men who each move up a spot in the quarterback pecking order will be to show them the “shortcuts” he has learned in order to quickly identify open receivers.

Now in a bye week, the Ticats will return to the field Sunday morning. That’s a day earlier than they might have returned had Collaros not been hurt. The Cats play host to  the league-leading Calgary Stampeders, Friday Oct. 2.