CFL

'I get to be mean': Ticats' Simoni Lawrence not pulling punches before Grey Cup

After a blistering early season hit on quarterback Zach Collaros, Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence says the two men have made up but he's warning football is a 'dangerous game' and he's not going to change his style of play.

Lawrence was suspended 2 games early in season for hit on opposing Grey Cup QB

Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence says he and opposing quarterback Zach Collaros have made up since Lawrence was suspended for a high hit on Collaros in Hamilton's season-opening win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)

After a blistering early season hit on quarterback Zach Collaros, Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence says the two men have made up but he's warning football is a 'dangerous game' and he's not going to change his style of play.

The six-foot-one, 231-pound Lawrence received a two-game suspension for a high hit on then Saskatchewan starting quarterback Zach Collaros in Hamilton's season-opening 23-17 win. 

Collaros, who was subsequently dealt to Toronto, was then shipped to Winnipeg at the trade deadline. He was the starter in the Bombers' final regular-season victory and remained in that position for playoff wins over the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan.

Lawrence sent out a tweet congratulating Collaros on the Bombers' win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West final and said the two had already hashed things out in the aftermath of the incident.

WATCH | Lawrence knocks out Collaros in season-opener:

Powered by a Frankie Williams punt return TD, Hamilton beat Saskatchewan 23-17 in the first game of the CFL season. 2:07

"I was just proud of him, you know. Whatever happened earlier in the season happened and I still like him. I still care for him. I was just proud of him," Lawrence said this week.

"Everything's good. We wished each other our best and that's just what it is. At the end of the day, I know how Zach's built. He's a competitive dude. We're excited to play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers."

To Collaros the matter is over and done with.

"We had a conversation there after Labour Day and it's behind us now. Obviously you want to talk through things any time there's a problem in a friendship or any kind of relationship, right? It's nice to get it behind us."

"I'm not a polite person playing football'

Lawrence said he won't be engaging in any pleasantries with Collaros in Sunday's Grey Cup.

"I'm not a polite person playing football. It's the only time I get to be mean. I'm nice to everybody but with football I get to be mean so I take advantage of it," Lawrence said.

Collaros said he's expecting nothing less from his former Hamilton teammate in a big game.

"A lot of effort. He's a really good football player and I expect him to do whatever [defensive co-ordinator] Mark [Washington] and [head coach] Orlondo [Steinhauer] ask him to do."

Lawrence also said it shouldn't come as a surprise to the public and football fans what the game is all about.

WATCH | Relive all 7 Ticats vs. Bombers Grey Cup matchups:

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have matched up in the CFL's biggest Game seven times, the earliest in 1953 and the latest in 1984. Watch highlights from all seven games. 3:17

"Football's a dangerous game. I don't understand why people act like football's so nice and pat each other on the butt. It's not like that," he said.

"I didn't grow up playing football like that so I get it, but it is what it is."

About the Author

Bill Graveland is a Calgary-based reporter for The Canadian Press.

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