Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Simoni Lawrence mostly had his trademark smile on through the entire suspension ordeal.

There’s an energy Lawrences oozes and everyone around can feel it wherever he goes. During the first game he sat out, Lawrence was with the people. When Hamilton hosted Winnipeg in Week 7 Lawrence spent the time before kick-off with black and gold supporters.

“CHCH pulled up on us during the tail gate and I was playing a little corn hole with some fans and they told me they were live,” Lawrence said.

“And I was like alright cool, I just need one shot – I took it, dropped it.”

The Ticats dished the Bombers their first loss of the season with Lawrence on the sideline. While the Ticats travelled to Regina for a meeting with the Riders, Lawrence was Tweeting about the game as it went along, but Hamilton fell 24-19 after Cody Fajardo used a sprinkle of Jesus to dive over the goal line in the final seconds.

It was the first time in Lawrence’s entire football career he was banned from playing. Injuries kept him from the field before, but never before had Lawrence been healthy and forced to watch his team.

Lawrence made contact with Zach Collaros’ head in a ‘dangerous and reckless play’ according to commissioner Randy Ambrosie. That led to the discipline, hearing and subsequent ruling to uphold the suspension. The entire process didn’t bother Lawrence except for outsiders trying to judge his intent.

“Yeah just because of like just personal appearance just how people really think I meant to do it. Only that stuff, but other than that where I come from everything’s a dream still, my life is a dream so I can’t really ever complain to be real,” Lawrence said.

Collaros was placed on the six-game injured list and hasn’t played since. Lawrence’s former teammate was traded from Saskatchewan to Toronto and the two could match up on Labour Day, if Collaros returns to action. But there hasn’t been any interaction between Lawrence and Collaros since the incident.

“No I have not spoken to Zach since. I reached out, asked him some questions, talked or whatever, but it’s football, we play a competitive sport. Now he plays for Toronto, I wouldn’t reach out to me if I was him right now, no way,” Lawrence said.

During the two weeks Lawrence wasn’t permitted to play, he lined up on the scout team providing looks for the offence to prepare for the Bombers and Riders defences. Quarterback Dane Evans said there wasn’t as much trashing talking from the unit in practice after Lawrence went back to the starting defence.

“Simoni’s always going to be Simoni. He’s out there playing ping pong right now like it’s the world series of ping pong,” Evans said.

“Coach O always told me: don’t ever change. I’ll do a cartwheel by mistake in front of people and he just says don’t ever change,” Lawrence said. “Or just say something goofy and he’ll say never change. It let me know I can be my damn self and work is fun like that.”

Defensive coordinator Mark Washington has one of the best defensive players back in his defence. Hamilton ranks as the hardest defence to score on in the East. Lawrence is a versatile defender which allows Washington to mix up looks and keep opposing offences guessing. Lawrence missed playing while serving his punishment.

“I love football. I don’t really like to do anything but football,” Lawrence said. “During the off-season I play flag football, don’t tell anyone.”

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.