Recorded here for posterity, and likely nothing else, are the opening remarks of Mike Benevides before his first regular season news conference Thursday as Lions’ head coach, which preceded nearly an hour-long barrage by media types from near and far.
A few notes that are unfit to print but of course highly suitable for a ravenous football audience which awaits Friday’s season opener for the Lions, provided for the usual charge:
–It would appear from a quick appearance by club president Dennis Skulsky at Mike Benevides’ first regular season news conference that the Lions plan to do it up right at their first regular season game after the Grey Cup, and at the same time do a little needed redecorating at B.C. Place Stadium.
There’s five black cloths which are currently suspended over the top deck of the stadium on the south side, and five Grey Cup pennants will be unveiled before the game by members of each team.
A special place will be found for the 2011 banner, Skulsky said. There will also be a fan tribute, with a replica Grey Cup ring to be displayed in one of the concourse areas saluting the work of the paying customer making the stadium one miserable place to play over the years. Nice touch.
–On other topics, like whether the roof will be closed, the club won’t make that call until Friday afternoon, so once again fans are forced to make their own choices regarding the elements.
–There’s protocol planned if Geroy Simon gets 67 yards and overtakes Milt Stegall for the all-time receiving yardage record. The game will be stopped and Stegall, Mark Cohon and Wally Buono will make a brief presentation on behalf of the CFL. The Lions would honor Simon prior to the Hamilton game, Skulsky said.
There’s no plan as to what will happen if Simon does not set the record Friday, as least not yet.
–Finally, Simon was a media magnet at the walkthrough Thursday, though without Stegall around there really wasn’t any possible angle that hasn’t been covered off about the record the last few days, until Simon provided up one himself.
Despite the fact the Bombers didn’t want him and he eventually caught on early in the 2001 season with the Lions, good things happen to Simon when it comes to Winnipeg, he reminded those in a scrum.
There was the fact the Lions won the 2006 Grey Cup in Winnipeg, the fact he was named the league’s most outstanding player there three days previously that week, and of course last year’s win over the Bombers. Players never forget, so it was also easy for Simon to provide a little background as to why he was released in the first place.
“They were on a 14-game winning streak and they didn’t want to break up the continuity. Arland Bruce was a rookie at the time and they didn’t obviously want to move him because he was playing so well,” Simon said. Tonight, the attention which must be paid to Bruce could be the reason why Simon has the record to himself Friday night, though keep in mind that 67 yards against the Bombers secondary should not be seen as a given.
Anyways, more printable material appears in the paper Friday, with the never-to-be-missed weekly look at the games of the week coming up online. And don’t forget our first live chat of the regular season at 4:30 p.m. from the stadium, where we’ll keep track of Ticats-Riders and talk Lions too. One more sleep before it gets real again.