There is good news resulting from the latest injury to Travis Lulay and the manner in which the hard-luck quarterback of the B.C. Lions is approaching the road ahead.
He is not thinking about how the end of his 10-year career will look, because there is no need when there are surely enough skeptics who will do that for him.
The quarterback rapidly approaching his 35th birthday was again at practice Tuesday in a familiar role of support, soft tossing with his uninjured right shoulder but exercising no range of motion on his left side. He confirmed the club’s diagnosis of a dislocation with some tissue damage and hopes to soon be in a position to start a recovery process which the Lions feel could mean he could return with time left in the regular season.
“I could do a shoulder rehab in my sleep,” said Lulay, who now has suffered significant damage in both shoulders during his CFL career. He’s also pretty nifty when it comes to rehabbing both his surgically repaired knees.
He also had a conditioned response when asked what he thought about suffering four injuries in his last five games against the Montreal Alouettes.
“I don’t know to explain that. It’s bizarre,” he said.
What is not bizarre to one of the CFL’s most likeable players is his resilient approach towards the endless string of health-related setbacks. If Lulay is of the opinion the latest injury is a message that the final chapter of his career should be written it is not evident in his approach.
Asked if the latest injury only strengthened his resolve to recover and eventually finish his career on his terms, Lulay again stated his belief is to live in the moment.
“It’s a nice thought but I never thought about it. Do I have a chance to come back? Yes. There’s a chance so let’s do everything we can,” said Lulay, who will not be placed on the team’s six-game injured list.
“Listen, in a perfect world you throw a touchdown on the final drive and you sail off but that’s not often the script. I don’t focus on how the end will look. Obviously I think about that. I’m at the stage of my career where that’s a very real possibility…. but that’s an off-season or a bye-week thought.”
What the hit did by the Als’ John Bowman in B.C.’s 32-14 win Friday was to remind the Lions of why they steered away from Lulay two seasons ago and sought a successor in Jon Jennings in the first place.
Both Lulay and Jennings are not under contract next season, and with no guarantee of finding an upgrade for the position in free agency, Lions general manager Ed Hervey will again be forced to shape the future of the organization using elusive variables.
Lulay’s injury history is evident, and Jennings has twice lost the starting position. The hope of the Lions is that Jennings has digested more of the new scheme implemented in training camp by offensive coordinator Jarious Jackson to be more productive and comfortable this time around.
Jackson also said he will tailor more of the offence to Jennings now that the 26-year-old quarterback back is behind centre, which represents the Lions’ best hope to escape their offensive doldrums and a key to their season. B.C. is sixth in overall offence and points produced through 11 games. No team has produced fewer passing first downs than the Lions.
“There’s certain things I can do well and certain things I’m not up to par on yet,” said Jennings. “I just play different than Travis. Not to say either one is wrong but some people learn and adjust a certain way.”
Jennings agreed when coach Wally Buono this week implied the quarterback now has a chance to rid himself of the impression of some around the league he can’t be successful given a third chance to start, but won’t use that as motivation.
“I know that, but when you start thinking about that is when you start to screw yourself,” Jennings said. “When you start thinking about what lies ahead you put pressure on yourself. When you start saying to yourself you have to throw for 350 yards that’s when you’re not going to win.”
So nobody is thinking about the future at quarterback with the Lions, which is a good thing, because on this team nobody could possibly know how things could wind up.
LIONS TALES: Lulay said he didn’t believe Montreal’s Bowman had an intent to injure but wonders whether the CFL would look at his hit in a manner in which similar types of blows being absorbed by NFL quarterbacks are subject to a penalty so far this season. “(I’m) not implying I thought it was a dirty hit,” said Lulay. “Often times after you throw; when a guy’s in your face, sometimes you get a shoulder or a two-hand shove in the chest. This time he ended up driving me into the ground. These things happen. I think there’s a mutual respect between John Bowman and myself. I landed in an awkward way with my elbow out and because his weight came on top it jarred it out.”… Solomon Elimimian was at a practice Tuesday with the cast on his injured hand removed and Buono expressed hope that if his linebacker could play without maximum protection in the form of a club hand he could eventually be cleared to play, which was not how the coach thought two weeks ago… Ty Long, who had gone six games without a field goal miss before his streak ended in Montreal when a chip-shot attempt was blocked, asked the league to reconsider its rule so as to not penalize a kicker’s accuracy and was told Tuesday the CFL will consider the request retroactively in the off-season. In 2014, the CFL changed its rule to not credit missed field goals regardless of whether the blocked ball crossed the line of scrimmage… Anthony Orange was named one of the league’s top performers for his two interceptions against Montreal. … B.C. signed ex-Edmonton linebacker Doug Parrish to the practice roster.