The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

November 22, 2013

Simon set for Grey Cup

Geroy Simon is wearing green instead of an orange jersey, but the Greater Johnstown High School graduate will be on familiar ground Sunday.

The Canadian Football League’s record-breaking receiver Simon will play for another Grey Cup championship.

The Grey Cup is the CFL equivalent to the NFL’s Super Bowl Lombardi Trophy.

“This is my fourth Grey Cup (appearance) and it feels like my first one,” Simon said during a Thursday telephone interview.

At age 38, Simon is a slot back in his first season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who will play on their home field against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Previously Simon was part of two Grey Cup championship teams and appeared in the title game three times with the British Columbia Lions. But during the offseason, Simon and the Lions parted ways and he was traded to the Roughriders, a former rival. The transaction created a buzz throughout Canada because Simon holds the CFL all-time record for career receiving yards, and this season he broke the career mark for receptions.

“This is the reason why I came to Saskatchewan,” Simon said. “I knew from playing against them that they had a lot of talent, but young talent. They needed a little bit of direction – veteran leadership. They have a great group of fans, huge support. Probably the best fans throughout Canada. They needed a few pieces to get back to the Cup. I felt like I could be one of those pieces.”

Simon brought plenty of experience. After spending time in several NFL camps and being part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, Simon joined the CFL’s Winnipeg Bombers in 1999. His 11-year stay with British Columbia began in 2001.

During his 15 CFL seasons, Simon was part of the Lions’ Grey Cup-winning teams in 2006 and 2011. The former Johnstown star was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2006, and he’s had six league all-star selections and seven divisional all-star honors.

Through the regular season, Simon had more than 16,350 receiving yards and more than 1,000 receptions, both CFL records.

This season, a hamstring injury kept Simon out of the lineup for a month. After his return, he’s had 40 catches for 565 yards, both uncharacteristically low numbers for him.

“I started the year injured. I hurt my hamstring at the end of training camp and missed the first few games,” Simon said. “I got an opportunity to play and I think I played well. The opportunity to catch as many balls as normal wasn’t there. It was a process throughout the year and I figured out my role.

“My role isn’t as much on the field. I did play every game other than games I was hurt. My biggest role is being a leader and showing guys how to be professionals and go out each and every week and win football games.

“Those things can’t be measured. You can measure catches and touchdowns.”

Simon provided intangibles.

The Roughriders began the season 9-2 but went on a four-game losing streak before recovering.

“We have a good team,” Simon said. “Guys got a little complacent and thought we were world beaters. We had someone like me around who has been through big slumps like that and was able to come out of them in the right way and get momentum back in the playoffs. It took us a little while to figure it out and just got it rolling again.”

In perhaps the biggest irony, Simon’s Roughriders beat his former team, the Lions, in the Western final last week, earning a spot in the Grey Cup, which in a bit of great timing is to be played at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium.

“It was really satisfying to beat those guys in the semifinals to put them out of the playoffs,” Simon said. “Just being the competitor that I am and them treating me the way they treated me, I felt like I could have played there and been good for that organization for a couple more years. Beating them was pretty satisfying.”

And what advice will he offer his younger, less experienced teammates on Sunday?

“I tell them to cherish this experience. You never know if you are going to get another opportunity,” Simon said. “Don’t be too uptight. Don’t have too much fun. You have to be even keeled. When it comes down to it, it’s still football. We have to continue playing one more game to reach our ultimate goal.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads