End of Manny show this year no laughing matter for Lions

Manny Arceneaux had so many plans the next time he visited the end zone when the CFL recently relaxed its touchdown celebration rule. Now there’ll be reason to wonder if it’s curtains on the Manny Show with the B.C. Lions for good.

The receiver who branded a reputation with his talk but had reshaped himself as a new father will spend the rest of the season on the sideline after he was diagnosed with a torn right ACL Monday.

He was looking to do more in his eighth season with the Lions, having risen to third behind only Geroy Simon and Jim Young on the team’s career receiving yards chart, and playfully suggested last week that might happen upon posting his next major when he asked a reporter whether the fines he had previously received would now be rescinded.

“Do they reimburse for when they fined me for using some props? They can send it to the Surrey facility,” he joked. But his mood changed, as it did for the Lions entire receiving corps, when he went down in the second quarter Saturday in the 24-21 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It’s reasonable to speculate whether the receiver whose contract expires after the season has played his last game for the Lions. General manager Ed Hervey must now find reinforcements for a position group which has just lost the one player he could have dealt to improve his roster and was most likely trying to trade.

“We kind of were expecting this,” coach Wally Buono said on TSN 1040 Monday reacting to the Arceneaux injury. “Knowing Manny, this is tough on him.”

It’s not nearly as tough, however, as it will be on the Lions, who struggled mightily once Arceneaux went down in the second quarter. Imports Ricky Collins and Kevin Elliott, each given a chance this season as Hervey acquisitions, combined caught just six of 15 passes in the loss. Two weeks ago Hervey passed on free agent Duron Carter. Yesterday, Carter signed in Toronto.

With Arceneaux out and another client of agent Bardia Ghahremani,  linebacker Solomon Elimimian, uncertain as to when he might return following wrist surgery, Hervey currently is without two tradeable assets if the Lions are of a mind they need to move front-line players to improve the 3-6 team.

But the Lions are taking fire from all sides in the wake of a loss that can now be considered devastating on multiple fronts.

Buono reacted angrily to suggestions the Lions should have not played centre Cody Husband, who has been hampered the last two weeks by a slight shoulder separation and has been limited during the practice week.

Husband anchored the offensive line when the Lions’ playoff hopes may have ended as backup quarterback Cody Fajardo failed to convert on third down in Riders territory with 36 seconds left by plunging up the middle.

“I don’t want to hear that garbage,” Buono said in response to a question from 1040 co-host Matt Sekeres. “If a guy is playing he doesn’t have a bum shoulder. Cody’s not the only player who played a little banged up. If the shoulder was that bad he shouldn’t be playing.

“We didn’t get the yard because we didn’t get the surge…. You can’t practice sneaks because you’re never in pads.”

And the Lions are in last place again this season, Buono contended, for a variety of reasons, and didn’t feel he solely should be blamed for the team’s 5-13 record over their last 18 regular season games.

“(Hervey) and I discuss the roster, I coach them up and the players play. I have a responsibility. So do the players. To say it falls on one group I don’t think that’s fair.

“Whether you want to point the finger at me, that’s not the issue. Everybody has to share the blame.”

Not Arceneaux. At least, not the rest of this season.



Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.