June 14, 2024

Ticats, Peters, Optimistic Shutdown Corner Will Play Sunday

Final approval won’t come until after tomorrow’s walkthrough or even on Sunday’s game day, but the Tiger-Cats’ defensive backfield could get a big boost for the home opener.

Jamal Peters, the shutdown cornerback who was one of the Ticats’ marquee acquisitions when he signed in February, has been taking practice reps all week after not playing—because of a lingering injury—in either of the two pre-season games or in last week’s season-opener in Calgary.

Head coach Scott Milanovich said he’s “optimistic” that the former Argo, who was ranked No. 26 — too low, in this corner’s opinion — on the TSN Top-50 CFL players list will suit up for Sunday’s 7 p.m. home lid-lifter against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But, Milanovich cautioned, that depends upon how Peters feels tomorrow and Sunday and will hinge on clearance from the medical and training staff.

“I could play but right now I’m just seeing how my body responds,” Peters said after Friday’s final full practice of the week. “It’s up to the trainers whether I play or not. I’ll do all I can to get back on the field but it’s a good thing to be back out there with my brothers (this week) being able to play.”

If Peters can play, it should make a difference against the Roughriders, who are quarterbacked by Trevor Harris, who’s got a strong track record playing the Ticats. He gets rid of the ball quickly to receivers like Shawn Bane Jr. who had three touchdowns in Saskatchewan’s comeback 29-21 victory in Edmonton last weekend.

On the boundary side of the field, Peters will usually line up against the opposition’s top two receivers and says it’s important for a weak side cornerback against a quick-release quarterback to be “sticky”, meaning staying very close to the receiver.

Among the many events at the home opener will be the celebration of the 1999 Tiger-Cats Grey Cup championship team and more than two dozen players and coaches are expected to be there.

Ticats Today on the Ticats Audio Network has run a series of long interviews with several members of that team, the last Hamilton side to win a Grey Cup, and you can find our discussion of that team with quarterback Danny McManus and punter/kicker Paul Osbaldiston.

Here’s a couple of teasers from that extensive conversation:

“You know every time that this team’s ever been together since that year, it’s like we never left the locker room,” Osbaldiston says. “We’ll bust each other the same way. The jokes continue. It was an amazing group of individuals and everybody had their flaws that were accepted and ignored or capitalized upon as far as practical jokes went.

“We spent more time together off the field and in the locker room than any team that I’ve ever played with. We were always together. We were always sharing things. We just loved each other and everybody fit in and everybody knew their role.”

And McManus adds: “I think the biggest part I remember is coach Lancaster setting the tone at Brock University (training camp)  in ‘99. He showed the highlights of Calgary and their great Cup celebration (in their 1998 win over Hamilton).  When it was over, he flipped the lights on and he said, ‘That’s us this year.’

“The biggest thing that we had to do was come to an understanding that the team, this team, was our team. It wasn’t the owner’s team. It wasn’t Ron Lancaster’s team. It was our team. And the only way we’re going to win is if all of us are together. And I think that started way back at Brock University back in May of ’99, where we wanted to get back and make sure we finished the deal.”

CATS CLAUSES: As of Friday these are the players and coaches from the 1999 team who have confirmed they will be here on Sunday: Calvin Tiggle, Dennis McPhee, (Coach) Mike McCarthy (General Manager) Mike Morreale, Paul Osbaldiston, Rob Hitchcock, Scott Fawcett (Coach), Obie Spanic, Trevor Shaw, Danny McManus, Mike Campbell, Carl Coulter, Corey Grant, Dave Hack, Dr. David Levy (Chief of Medical Staff), Franco Rocca, Jason Riley, Kyle Walters, Mace Freeman, Norm Miller (Public Relations Director), Tim Fleiszer, and Chris Shelling … Eight current players were coaches at the Ticats High School Football Camp at Tim Hortons Field last night. About 90 players from grades 9 through 12 were on the field, working rigorously at several skills stations while being instructed intensely by Brandon Barlow, DeWayne Hendrix,Richard Leonard, Stavros Katsantonis, Kyle Wilson, Steven Dunbar Jr., Taylor Powell, Ante Litre and Jordan Murray.