Riders' Tearrius George meets Stamps QB Drew Tate again

Saskatchewan defender Tearrius George, suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Calgary quarterback Drew Tate in the 2012 playoffs, makes his season debut against the very same West rival.

Sask. defender drew suspension for hit on Calgary pivot

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate runs the ball past Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Renauld Williams in the first quarter of a pre-season game last month. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Tearrius George doesn't play the role of spectator very well.

The six-foot-four, 258-pound defensive lineman missed the Saskatchewan Roughriders' season-opening 39-18 win over Edmonton last week while serving a suspension. George was forced to watch the game on TV at home and got into hot water with his wife.

"I had to watch it in the basement," George told reporters in Regina this week. "My wife sent me down to the basement, [with] all the yelling and screaming.

"It's real, real difficult because you're sitting at home and you're like, 'Man, I would have went that way,' or, 'Man, I would have done this.' I was texting guys during the game so at halftime they had a couple of messages from me."

George was suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Calgary quarterback Drew Tate in last year's West Division semifinal. The CFL issued the ban following the playoff game but ruled because the Stampeders had won that George would have to serve the suspension to start the 2013 campaign.

The good news for Saskatchewan is George is expected to start Friday night in the Riders' home opener against none other than Calgary.

"I'm the little kid out of the yard this week," said George. "I'm ready to play."

Like Saskatchewan, Calgary opened its season on a winning note, downing the B.C. Lions 44-32 last week.

Riders head coach Corey Chamblin is confident the suspension taught George a valuable lesson.

"He doesn't want to have to sit out again," Chamblin said. "I think that's the biggest positive is to make sure that when he plays, he plays to the whistle and not after the whistle."

Calgary running back Jon Cornish, the CFL's top Canadian last season, played a big role in the Stampeders' opening victory. He ran for 172 yards and scored two TDs against the Lions.

Last season, Chamblin publicly stated prior to a game against Calgary that Riders' defensive players would lose their jobs if Cornish ran for more than 100 yards in the contest. Not only did Saskatchewan win the game 30-25 on Sept. 23, but Cornish rushed for 67 yards on 12 attempts.

There was no such edict this week from Chamblin, at least not publicly.

"We watched a little bit of film and he [Chamblin] made a couple of points so I think it's an unspoken challenge," George said. "He might not have come out and said it in the media, but he definitely made a point during film to show us how [Cornish] was running through a couple of people and what we cannot let happen."

Calgary didn't emerge totally unscathed from its opening contest as defensive tackle Corey Mace suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Two years ago, Mace, 27, was lost for the entire 2011 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the season opener.

"It popped out and I thought I just dislocated it," Mace told reporters in Calgary this week. "I put a sleeve on it at halftime and during the game, it kept slipping out.

"Any time you get injured, it's disappointing but first game of the season is very disappointing. To do it all over again like 2011, I really don't have words for that."

The six-foot-three, 285-pound Mace will now attempt to serve as a mentor to his younger teammates as he recovers from his latest setback.

"There's pluses to it being that I have so much time to recover for the next season," he said. "It just sucks, man, to be honest.

"So it's just now helping out with the young guys and getting these guys going. We have a lot of guys who can still get the job done."