Geroy Simon spent the latter part of the Canadian Football League season pacing himself while dealing with the effects of two hamstring injuries.
The Greater Johnstown High School graduate won’t hold back today, though.
Simon and his British Columbia Lions (13-5) teammates will host the Calgary Stampeders (12-6) in the CFL’s West Division Final at BC Place with a berth in the 100th Grey Cup Final at stake.
“For one, it’s exciting for me just to get out there and play, and to play in this magnitude of a game,” said Simon, who has had a historic season while breaking the CFL’s all-time career receiving yardage mark and having his photo placed on a Canadian postage stamp.
“Calgary is playing hot,” he added. “They beat us a few weeks ago. We still feel we’re the best team in the West and throughout the league. It’s exciting to have an opportunity to go out and prove that.”
This has been a season of highs and lows for Simon, 37. In his 12th season as a slot receiver with the Lions and 14th in the CFL, Simon was slowed by significant injuries for the first time in his hall of fame career.
Simon began the season with nine consecutive years with 1,000-plus receiving yards – the second longest streak in CFL history.
His 15,787 receiving yards are the most in CFL history. He has 989 receptions and 100 career touchdowns.
This year he has 54 catches for 700 yards and two touchdowns.
“I had hurt both of my hamstrings. It kept me out five games throughout the last nine of the season,” Simon said. “It was a little frustrating for me. I’ve never missed this many games, not only in a season but in my career. It’s been an adjustment. I’m healthy, feeling good and feeling confident. I want to get out there and make some big plays to help us win this Grey Cup.”
A six-time CFL all-star receiver, Simon knows what it takes to win a Grey Cup.
He’s been part of two CFL championship teams (2006 and 2011) and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2006.
Today will be his 16th CFL playoff game. Simon has at least one reception in each of the previous 15 postseason dates.
He has four 100-yard receiving playoff games and ranks 11th all-time with 918 receiving yards on 62 catches.
Also returning to the Lions lineup is veteran receiver Arland Bruce, who was out five weeks with a concussion.
Quarterback Travis Lulay will have a few familiar and reliable targets today.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time and have had pretty good success,” Simon said. “With us in there, the confidence level goes up and we feel good about our situation.”
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat