Riders QB Zach Collaros takes head shot from Ticats LB Simoni Lawrence

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Riders quarterback Zach Collaros took a shoulder to the head from Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence on the third play of the CFL season opener.

The 30-year-old was down on the field for a couple minutes and walked off under his own power. As he went to the sidelines, Collaros was visibly upset about the hit.

“I didn’t even see it. I was sorry to see him down, certainly, I felt for the guy,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said.

“He’s moving around good and seems fine, but we’ll have to see where he’s at. He certainly wasn’t able to finish the game, but he looks OK in the locker room.”

Dickenson said Collaros went through concussion protocol and didn’t pass which was why the Riders pivot remained on the sideline with shoulder pads off and jacket on for the remainder of the game.

Collaros missed four games last season due to concussions.

Saskatchewan’s pivot was on the receiving end of a hard hit from B.C.’s Odell Willis late in the first quarter of Week 20 against the Lions in October last year. Willis was given a roughing the passer penalty on the play and Collaros never returned to action in 2018.

Earlier last season, Collaros was hit by Ottawa Redblacks defensive lineman Avery Ellis under the helmet and caught him under the chin. That drove Collaros from the game as he underwent concussion protocol in Week 2. He returned to action in Week 8.

Collaros sat out three games due to a head injury in 2016 and missed time in 2014 after suffering a concussion while with Hamilton. The Ticats traded Collaros to Saskatchewan in January 2018 and the Riders re-signed him to an incentive-laden deal for the 2019 season.

During the off-season, Collaros said the league wasn’t doing enough for player safety.

“I’m not in talks with anyone from the league but until it becomes a main priority, it kind of is what it is,” Collaros said. “There’s not much of a penalty for the hit. If you knock a guy out of the game but you can stay in the game, wouldn’t you do that?”

That’s exactly what happened to Collaros his first time back at Tim Hortons Field since being dealt. Lawrence was given a 25-yard roughing the passer penalty and Collaros knocked from the game, standing on the sidelines with a jacket on.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.