For­mer top rookie back with Stamps

Chris Matthews in hurry-up mode

Lethbridge Herald - - HERALD SPORTS TOP STORIES - Donna Spencer THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — CAL­GARY

Re­turn­ing to the Cana­dian Foot­ball League is not like rid­ing a bike, says re­ceiver Chris Matthews. The CFL’s most out­stand­ing rookie in 2012 when he was with the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers, Matthews is back in the league with the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers.

A re­ceiv­ing corps rav­aged by in­juries ac­cel­er­ated Matthews’ re-en­try. He’s on to­day’s game ros­ter against the B.C. Lions less than two weeks af­ter his sign­ing.

The six-foot-five, 228-pound Cal­i­for­nian caught four passes for 109 yards and a touch­down in the 2015 Su­per Bowl in a los­ing cause for the Seat­tle Sea­hawks.

Matthews was re­leased from the Bal­ti­more Ravens in late 2017.

He says ad­just­ing to the Cana­dian game again isn’t au­to­matic. Matthews has been in hurry-up mode learn­ing an un­fa­mil­iar of­fence in Cal­gary.

Stam­ped­ers quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell has helped him a lot, Matthews said.

“It’s a lot of in­tri­cate parts to our of­fence that makes us unique,” Matthews said Fri­day. “Bo did some­thing amaz­ing for me to­day. He wrote down a lot of things I needed to un­der­stand dur­ing the game. He wrote it down, drew up the pic­ture and ev­ery­thing.

“I’ve never had any­body do that for me and I’ve been around great quar­ter­backs. That just showed me these guys re­ally want me to suc­ceed and to help him win. I’m all in.”

Marken Michel (shoul­der) is the lat­est Stam­ped­ers re­ceiver to go on the sixgame in­jured list, fol­low­ing Ka­mar Jor­den (knee), DaVaris Daniels (col­lar­bone) and Reg­gie Begel­ton (arm) — all in the last six weeks.

The sta­tus of slot­back Eric Rogers for Satur­day’s game was un­clear Fri­day as he was in Cal­i­for­nia for the birth of his child.

And run­ning back Terry Wil­liams may have a sea­son-end­ing wrist in­jury, Cal­gary head coach Dave Dick­en­son said Fri­day.

So Mitchell will con­tinue to work with in­ex­pe­ri­enced catch­ers and now a thin­ner run/re­turn game to­day when Cal­gary (12-2) is at home to B.C. (7-7).

“I’ve got to go out there and make plays and trust those guys will go out and do it for me as well,” Mitchell said.

Al­ready as­sured a home play­off game, the Stam­ped­ers want to lock down first in the West Di­vi­sion and se­cure a play­off bye.

A win over the Lions com­bined with a Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers loss to, or tie with, the Blue Bombers ear­lier Satur­day would get that done. So would a Cal­gary tie plus a Saskatchewan loss.

The Lions are rac­ing with Win­nipeg (87) and the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos (7-8) for both the third play­off spot in the West, and the cross-over play­off berth in the East Di­vi­sion.

B.C. has won four of its past five games, in­clud­ing a first road vic­tory this sea­son.

“I think the guys have started to buy into what we’re sell­ing,” Lions head coach Wally Buono said. “Es­pe­cially on de­fence, our guys are play­ing bet­ter than they were at the be­gin­ning of the year.

“On of­fence, we’ve been in­con­sis­tent and for us to fin­ish strong, we’ve got to be much more con­sis­tent on of­fence.

“There’s no goal other than to make the play­offs. I think that’s crit­i­cal.”

Af­ter miss­ing three games with a shoul­der in­jury, Lions quar­ter­back Travis Lulay is ex­pected to start to­day.

Jonathon Jen­nings went 2-1 in his ab­sence, and fin­ished up the win in Mon­treal on Sept. 14, when Lulay was in­jured.

B.C. LIONS (7-7) AT CAL­GARY STAM­PED­ERS (12-2)

to­day, McMa­hon Sta­dium

BYE BYE BUONO?:To­day’s

game could be the last time Wally Buono stands on the McMa­hon Sta­dium side­lines if the Lions don’t get to a play­off game there. The 68-year-old has vowed his 25th sea­son as a CFL head coach will be his last.

Buono was head coach in Cal­gary for 12 years and won Grey Cups with the Stam­ped­ers in 1992, 1998 and 2001.

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