EDMONTON Eskimos quarterback Steven Jyles says he's sorry for calling Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Johnny Sears a "dirty player" last week and intends to make amends when he sees Sears at Canad Inns Stadium Thursday evening as the Eskimos and Bombers hook up in Winnipeg's home opener.
"I will apologize to Johnny. I shouldn't have said those things about him," Jyles told reporters in Winnipeg Wednesday afternoon shortly after the Eskimos arrived.
"One thing about Johnny that I like about him is that he plays hard... I will just tell the guy to keep playing hard, man. There's no hard feelings. Like I say, I don't hate the guy. I don't even know him."
But when asked why he made the allegations in the first place, Jyles strangely seemed to repeat them again and still seemed conflicted.
"I didn't want to paint a picture that he's a bad guy. I think he makes dirty plays, he takes dirty shots. But that's just the way he plays, and that's what I was saying -- he plays hard.
"There's times you can let up on a guy because you know he's going down or he's falling. But he's going to come in and still try to get a (hit). That's just the style he has. I'm not trying to say this guy's dirty."
Jyles and Sears have had a feud that goes back to last season when Sears was suspended for a game for a helmet-on-helmet hit against Jyles that knocked the latter out of a game. The dispute was exacerbated a couple weeks ago after Sears was involved in another play in which he appeared to inadvertently hit former Bombers teammate Clint Kent out of bounds, injuring Kent's leg.
Advised earlier this week of Jyles' allegations that he played dirty, Sears said he intended to settle the dispute directly with Jyles tonight.
"I will address it when I see him on the field. Know what I'm saying?" Sears said Monday.
"It will get handled, but in the way it's supposed to and (within) the integrity of the game. But yeah. I will be thinking about it."
Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said he spoke to Jyles about his "dirty player" comments last week and was pleased to hear his quarterback had tendered a public apology Wednesday.
"I applaud him for having the courage and the class to make an amendment in terms of his statement. I know in his heart he doesn't believe that," Reed said.
FIELD NOTE: Reed, a former Bombers defensive co-ordinator, was asked Wednesday to reflect on late Bombers defensive-line coach Richard Harris, who died a year ago today. "When the schedule came out, it was a day I looked at. It obviously brings back some very difficult emotions. But at the same time, I'm at peace knowing Coach Harris is at peace. His legacy will never die."