The loss of another Lions draft pick, Matt Norman, remains a possibility, but the Lions are hopeful that the return to Kamloops of Jon Hameister-Ries is a good sign. The team’s starting guard says he’s going to try to be ready for the regular season opener June 29, which means Norman could return to Western Ontario and not cripple his team up front thanks to a solid rookie training camp.
It would simply be divine luck if the Lions could get Jon Hameister-Ries back from injury at the same time rookie Matt Norman decides that it is in his best interest to complete his education.
That scenario, however, remains a possibility.
Just as Norman was again Sunday explaining the logistics of obtaining his degree this fall at anywhere but the University of Western Ontario, out popped Hameister-Ries from the team’s Kamloops locker room quarters.
Hameister-Ries, of course, does not have a great history of avoiding injuries and his rehabilitation over the years hasn’t been much better. But you almost could detect a smile when he said he is still shooting for the June 29 season opener as the date for his return from arthroscopic knee surgery which was only performed Monday.
“He’s hell-bent on breaking all the records for recovery,” Mike Benevides said.
Thing is, Norman stepped in so well as a replacement for Hameister-Ries there would be little concern either way, and perhaps might give the Lions cause to reconsider how they develop draft picks in the future.
It’s also clear, however, that Norman has a future in the present, and won’t want things to get messy should the well-spoken rookie decide not to honour his Lions contract and return to school, presumably with the idea of returning to the CFL team which gave him a training camp opportunity.
“Matt … is one of the surprise stories. I see him as being part of this team. The decisions he has to make on a personal level, that’s on him,” Benevides said.
Once again, thanks to the backward rules in the CFL which does not give teams the ability to retain the rights of a draft pick who wishes to return to the CIS, Norman could go to another team in 2013 if he chooses to continue his educational path. Only the expedited return of Hameister-Ries, and for that matter fellow starter Dean Valli, would lessen the blow.