‘The opposite of a competition’: fully healthy Jeremiah Masoli focused on Grey Cup over Ticats QB battle

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

It’ll be two years since quarterback Jeremiah Masoli tore the ACL in his left knee when the Tiger-Cats kick-off the CFL season in Winnipeg August 5.

So much time has passed since the setback that Masoli doesn’t even think about the injury anymore. The 32-year-old entered Hamilton’s training camp restriction-free and 100 percent healthy.

“I’ve had so much time to rehab that it’s really second nature now again,” Masoli said with his trademark quiet confidence.

Masoli went down with a non-contact anterior cruciate ligament tear on Friday, July 26, 2019 against the Blue Bombers. He’s competing with fellow signal-caller Dane Evans to be the starter when the Ticats take on the reigning Grey Cup champions in Week 1.

“When it comes to Jeremiah, you knew that he’s a warrior, he’s going to be ready,” head coach Orlondo Steinauer said.

The 2019 CFL Coach of the Year has stated money won’t play a role in the decision. The Ticats gave Masoli a $125,000 signing bonus to re-sign in January, which was part of a one-year contract worth $350,000. Evans does not have any guaranteed cash included in his $94,000 hard money compensation for 2021, however there are playtime bonuses available such as $4,000 each time he takes 51 percent or more of the offensive snaps in a game.

“We’re going to need all hands on deck to win this championship, me and Dane included. It’s football competition, Coach O, Tommy [Condell] those guys are going to have to make that decision,” Masoli said.

“I’m trying to be the best quarterback I can be, best teammate I can be — period. I’m just another slice of the pie, another piece to the puzzle, whatever you want to say.”

The pair of signal-callers have truly developed a friendship alongside the desire to be the man running out with the starting offence each week in 2021. Even though Masoli has more experience in the CFL, the two passers have great respect for one another despite having the burning desire to be QB1.

“I’ve definitely heard some crazy stories about QB rooms that personalities don’t mesh, but I’ve been really fortunate, I’ve only had a couple bad apples I guess you would call them. I’ve had good QB rooms that were always about the team more so than themselves,” Masoli said.

“Back when I was at Oregon, me and my boy Darron Thomas we were close just like me and Dane, so I’ve been through something similar. It’s like the opposite of a competition, we’re helping each other out. We all want to win a championship and raise the cup — period.”

Masoli and Evans have been taking equals reps with the starting offence and will continue to do so until a No. 1 quarterback is determined.

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