‘That’s not who we are’: Ticats’ Orlondo Steinauer calls Chris Edwards’ post-game shove ‘inexcusable’

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ head coach Orlondo Steinauer was generally pleased with his team’s discipline in Friday’s 38-12 loss to the Montreal Alouettes, but could offer no defence for the actions of starting strong-side linebacker Chris Edwards at the end of the game.

“I thought we did a decent job of not retaliating all game, to be honest with you. I think we took some penalties there; the end is inexcusable. That’s not something that we preach, that we encourage or that we will take lightly. That’s not who we are,” Steinauer told the Hamilton media post-game.

“Frustrations boil over, but it’s a team game. The penalties have come way down from our first week but in the end result, sometimes it’s not the amount of penalties, it’s which ones you’re taking.”

Following the loss, Edwards approached Alouettes’ receiver Austin Mack with his hand outstretched, offering a post-game handshake. When Mack returned the gesture, the 30-year-old defensive back quickly retracted his offer and met the pass catcher with a stiff two-handed shove to the chest, knocking him to the ground. The action drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, even though the final whistle had already been blown.

Mack was Montreal’s top target on the evening, finishing with five catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Edwards managed four tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack as his team suffered their third straight defeat.

The veteran defender has a well-established reputation as one of the league’s hottest-tempered players, with a history of drawing major penalties. That has occasionally bubbled over off the field, most memorably following the 2021 East Final.

Then a member of the Toronto Argonauts, Edwards was caught on video climbing into the stands after the playoff loss and physically confronting a visiting Ticats fan who had harassed players. Blows were exchanged and Edwards was issued a six-game suspension for the incident, though it was later reduced to three games on appeal. The interaction also prompted the introduction of a new fan code of conduct for the league.

Given that history, Hamilton’s signing of Edwards this offseason raised eyebrows. He was one of several players with previous discipline issues, including receiver Duke Williams, to join the team, but Steinauer has insisted the franchise did its “due diligence” regarding their mercurial additions.

Edwards is expected to receive supplemental discipline from the CFL for his actions on Friday, though it is unknown to what degree the league will clamp down. Disciplinary fines are typically issued on Wednesday, while a suspension could be ruled on even earlier.

Despite the post-game scuffle, Steinauer remains bullish on the make-up of his locker room. However, frustration after an 0-3 start to the season is not only expected but required in his view.

“I would hope that there would be disappointment and not cheer. That’s the only challenge in the locker room, if you’re referring to that,” the coach said defensively on the post-game show.

“I’m happy that there’s that kind of challenge. You don’t ever want them to be happy and the messaging is there’s no magic wand. It’s about rolling up your sleeves and going to work and being better one play at a time.”

The Tiger-Cats have a bye in Week 4, before hosting the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday, July 8.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.