Willie Jefferson has been a thorn in Cody Fajardo’s side on and off the field.
Not only has Jefferson helped dash Fajardo’s Grey Cup hopes once and ruined his Labour Day weekend, but he’s run his mouth at the Saskatchewan Roughrider quarterback, too.
In fact, it was Jefferson who suggested the Riders hadn’t played anyone as good as Winnipeg prior to the Labour Day and Banjo Bowl home-and-home with the Blue Bombers. Fajardo, the prairie boy-wonder with all the moxie, couldn’t resist responding.
“I would be upset if I was the other teams that we’ve played,” a grinning Fajardo said after the Labour Day loss.
“He’s basically calling out the other teams we’ve played, and not really us, right?”
Let the record state that Fajardo is suggesting Jefferson is trash-talking the B.C. Lions, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Redblacks more than he is the Riders.
“It doesn’t bother me any bit. If anything, he’s just talking down on the defences we’ve played and nothing against our offence,” Fajardo said.
Jefferson, seen as a Chris Jones loyalist during his time with Edmonton and Saskatchewan, opted to sign with Winnipeg after the ex-Rider coach bolted for the NFL. The six-foot-seven, 252-pound defender could be seen chattering in the direction of Fajardo all game long, but he swears it never got under his skin.
“I kind of tune those things out. It’s just the competitive nature. I don’t know exactly what he said. Sometimes he’ll smile at me under the face mask and that’s just part of the game,” Fajardo said.
“Especially when they’re kicking our butt, it’s easy to talk crap when you’re kicking the other team’s butt. That’s just part of football and the best way to make people not talk crap is to play well and we didn’t. I definitely didn’t do that so I definitely deserved all the smack talk I could get out there because I played a terrible game.”
It’s clear that Jefferson loves the gamesmanship with his former teammates and Fajardo, who is not an ex-teammate, isn’t afraid to spar by responding with a jab or two of his own.