EDMONTON – Tried to steer clear of the Roughriders today, folks, because they’ve been getting a lot of ink this week.
Spent the afternoon at the Montreal Alouettes media luncheon and spent a great deal of time speaking with former Bomber linebacker Ike Charlton (my compadre Gary Lawless will have a piece on this). Let’s just say he’s still cranky about his release during the summer.
The Alouettes are quite loosey-goosey. No surprise there, given they’ve been here, done that so much in the past.
A bunch of the defensive players even posed with the Grey Cup, some of them touching it. That used to be considered superstitious, but apparently the Als touched the trophy a year ago and they still won, so...
Here’s a chunk of a scrum with Darian Durant from Wednesday where he speaks about the transition from Kent Austin to Ken Miller at coach and the call he usually makes to his dad before games.
ONE COOL DUDE: A media scrum that I wish I hadn’t missed the other day involved Rider punter Eddie Johnson, the American kicker dusted off after injuries and summoned from a bar in the U.S. where he was working as a bartender. Here are some snippets:
Reporter: "Were you serious about any sports other than football?"
Johnson: "No. Mud wrestling, maybe. I don't know. It just depends what kind of mood I'm in, though. It's not for me, though. I'm more of a spectator."
Reporter: "What are the differences between Newport Beach (where he is from) and Regina?"
Johnson: "We could go on for hours about this. Weather. Sand. Ocean. Dare I say, very nice ladies -- not that Regina doesn't have nice ladies, but there's more people in California, so we've got some pretty girls. Like David Lee Roth said, 'I wish they all could be California girls.'
There's definitely more entertainment during the week, but Regina's cool, too, though. It's just a smaller town. It's supply and demand, right? There's more people in California, so there's more people who want to do different things. The weather's more fitting for it, and in Regina it gets cold so you try to stay inside most of the time. I don't curl, so I'm just going to be in the house watching Eastbound & Down re-runs."
Reporter: "What is it like kicking the ball in this weather?"
Johnson: "It sucks, but you just kind of deal with it. What really stinks is when it's windy and it's cold. The biggest thing is to keep my
hands warm. You'll see me on the sidelines and it looks like I'm doing a re-make of Flashdance, trying to stay warm and just running in place, minus the water. Once your hands get exposed and they get cold, you're done. They become like ice blocks. They're not even my hands anymore. They might as well be somebody else's hands."
Reporter: "How did the Roughriders find you?"
Johnson: "Craigslist. I was on Kijiji, too. You can find everything you want on Craigslist. I put a classified ad on there: 'Punter for hire. With 'stache. Willing to travel light. Single. Can make drinks for the team if need be. Nobody will be mad if he leaves the state.' I actually put it on the personals, too."
Reporter: "Are you going to party it up this weekend?"
Johnson: "That's incriminating. I'm going to be a total gentleman. Look at this moustache. Does this moustache look like it wants to party? It
kind of does, doesn't it? I'm just going to shake some hands, kiss some babies and be a good team player. I'm a professional. I am a punter and, let's face it, I don't have to be on top of things when it comes to plays, but I'm going to make sure that I'm ready to go on Sunday so I can hit good punts in the game."