Tiger-Cats’ QB Dane Evans claims ‘no bad blood’ between him and Jeremiah Masoli

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

For the first time in his career, Dane Evans will be the undisputed starting quarterback of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

As a result, Jeremiah Masoli, the man with which he has battled for the top job for the better part of two seasons, is gone, pegged to lead a franchise resurgence in Ottawa.

Once rivals on the depth chart, the two quarterbacks will finally have a chance to go head-to-head on the field. It is undoubtedly a chance they both relish, but do not mistake competitiveness for animosity.

“There’s no bad blood or anything between me and him,” Evans insisted in appearance on 980 CJME in Regina. “We had a good talk on the phone after he signed with Ottawa and I’m super excited about that for him. Super glad for him because I know he’s still got gas in the tank. I’m just ready to get to go against him a couple times this year.”

Much has been made of the fascinating dynamic between the two quarterbacks the last two season. Coming off a Most Outstanding Player nomination in 2018, it was an injury to Masoli that allowed Evans his chance to shine, leading the Ticats to a Grey Cup appearance in 2019.

Speculation about who would be the starter stayed constant throughout the canceled 2020 campaign and the pair would both see significant time once play resumed in 2021. The playoffs were a microcosm, as Masoli led the team in with a hot hand before being replaced by Evans in the East Final. The younger QB’s near spotless performance earned him a start in his second Grey Cup, but Masoli had to come off the bench early and nearly played hero in a tight overtime loss.

It has been said that if you have two quarterbacks, you have none and the flip-flopping was always assumed to be a challenging work environment for the pair of pivots. Although, Evans insists that is not the case.

“People have been saying that the last couple years, but honestly just going to work with him every day the last three or so years has been awesome, I looked forward to it every day,” he explained.

“I was always excited because I knew that whenever I came to the facility, I better come ready to compete and be the guy. I knew he came to the facility the same way, so we kind of fed off each other in that same aspect.”

Masoli was no stranger to quarterback competition, of course. He was the young buck pushing for starter status once and Evans was there to see how that ended.

“When I first came up here, him and Zach Collaros were both in the quarterback room whenever I was on the practice squad,” he recalled. “Zach was going through some things that year and Jeremiah got to play as well, so it was kind of cool getting to learn from both of them and then obviously everything happened how it happened and I got to learn from Jeremiah for the last couple years.”

Things would work out alright for Collaros, as he is the one responsible for crushing the Ticats’ Grey Cup dreams in each of the last two seasons. That proves that the result of a quarterback competition doesn’t always shake out as expected, but the knowledge shared between passers while the battle is ongoing is always invaluable.

Evans believes the last few seasons have sharpened his abilities, learning from a true professional in Masoli. He hopes that relationship has been symbiotic.

“It’s been awesome because he is the ultimate professional, man — I mean that. Nobody works harder than that guy. I feel like I work pretty hard too, but that dude is a hard worker,” Evans said.

“I knew he would always be one of the first ones at the facility with me. I feel like I picked up some good habits from him and maybe I taught him some things. I know he definitely taught me a lot of things.”