If there’s going to be a war of words leading up to Friday’s Week 3 clash between the Saskatchewan Roughriders (0-1) and the Edmonton Eskimos (0-1) at Commonwealth Stadium, it may have started on Wednesday.
Following Wednesday’s Day 3 of the practice week, Rider receiver Shamawd Chambers – one of five Eskimos who won a Grey Cup last year but defected to Saskatchewan in the off-season – said he expects a lot of Rider Green in the stands at Commonwealth Friday night.
“I honestly expect there to be more Rider fans,” Chambers smirked, “Just like any other time the Riders came to Edmonton when I was there. So if it’s not going to be more Rider fans, it’ll be half and half. It’s going to be loud when we’re on the field and it’s going to be loud when they’re on the field.”
Chambers’ comments immediately sparked a wildfire on Twitter in what’s becoming one of the CFL’s best rivalries.
Friday’s crowd is expected to be the largest in the CFL so far this season and a lot of it has to do with the first “official” return of Chris Jones and his coaching staff to the City of Champions along with all those Eskimo players. Another one of those former Eskimos is receiver/returner Kendial Lawrence who vowed not to get caught up in the hype.
“It’s just big for us to go over there and do our job,” Lawrence said, “Because like you said, they’re making a big deal of it over there. We’re just over here doing our thing, game-planning, going through the motions and the main thing is to just go over there and get a win.”
As far as Chris Jones is concerned, he said he won’t have to address – or motivate – his players about the hoopla surrounding his return Friday night.
“Nah they’re pro football players,” Jones shrugged. “I mean, what are they going to play 110% because I’m going back to Edmonton? They don’t care. I mean half of them probably don’t even know I was in Edmonton last year. It’s a deal where we’ve gotta make sure that we’re prepared to play and play fast and play hard for everyone that’s here in this room.”