Franchise quarterback Michael Reilly ‘on a pitch count’ with B.C. Lions

Michael Reilly was so excited to be back on the football field it caused an issue physically.

The veteran passer has been listed with a right elbow ailment on the team’s injury report. During camp Reilly was dealing with shoulder soreness, which caused him to miss a handful of sessions.

“The likes of Mike Reilly throwing a thousand balls day one probably didn’t help him, but the reality is everyone is excited,” co-general manager Neil McEvoy said on Sportsnet 650 radio in Vancouver.

“Mike got all gung-ho the first day of camp, so we went through all the protocols to ensure there wasn’t anything in his arm that was going to hinder him.”

On Sunday, July 18, Reilly underwent an MRI on his right shoulder and arm to rule out a serious setback. Overuse during training camp has the Lions treating Reilly as a starting pitcher.

“He’s on a pitch count, he’s been out there practicing, he’s had his helmet on, he’s done all the things that’s been needed to do, he just hasn’t been taking full team reps every single day,” McEvoy said.

“We’re going to monitor what he does and I expect — I’m hoping that we get to Friday night and he’s our guy, leading us towards great things for 2021.”

The 36-year-old Reilly started 16 games for the Lions in 2019, but his first year as the starter in B.C. was cut short due to a broken wrist. Prior to the injury, he was the last healthy starting quarterback league-wide. He passed for 3,897 yards, 20 touchdowns versus 15 interceptions while completing just under 70 percent of his attempts as the Lions went 5-13 and missed the playoffs.

The six-foot-three, 230-pound signal caller won the league’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2017 when he threw for a career-high 5,830 yards and 30 touchdowns. He’s been a part of two Grey Cup winning teams, including leading Edmonton to a CFL title in 2015, earning MVP honours in the 103rd edition of the three-down championship.

Reilly started his CFL career with the Lions in 2010 and he’s been in the league for 10 seasons. He has completed over 66 percent of his passes for 31,522 yards with 168 touchdowns against 99 interceptions and rushed 637 times for 3,366 yards scoring 52 majors in 155 games.

“He is going to be our leader, regardless of where he is, he is going to be the leader of this football team,” McEvoy said. “We’re going to be depending on him, I’m excited about him getting on the field Friday to do the things that he can do.”

The Lions are scheduled to visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 1.

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