Korey Banks has been quiet this week, an unusual development for a guy who loves the sound of his own voice.
Rather than give the Winnipeg Blue Bombers something to stir their pre-Grey Cup emotions, Banks, the B.C. Lions defensive back/motor mouth, has taken a cautious, say-little approach.
That ends Saturday night.
“I’m going to take out a pad and put a dot beside every guy [on the Bombers]I hate. I’ll probably have 56 dots,” Banks said. “I build my hate tonight. Tomorrow, I take it out.”
The Lions, particularly their defensive unit, are known throughout the CFL as the most talkative group in shoulder pads, with Banks as their leader. Some of his chatter/Twitter wars with Calgary Stampeders’ slotback Nik Lewis have been legendary.
But this week, it’s been the high and quiet road for Banks.
“What’s there to talk about?” he said. “[The Bombers]are here for a reason. If we weren’t here, I’d be cheering for Winnipeg. Tomorrow, it’s about going out and disrespecting your body.”
Tad Kornegay is another notorious chatterbox. He, too, has taken a less bombastic approach to Sunday’s 99th Grey Cup game and with good reason. For the last two years, Kornegay has gone to the Cup and lost, both times with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 2009, he had to endure the ‘Riders heartbreak loss against the Montreal Alouettes when the ‘Riders were penalized for having too many men on the field.
“Those were tough,” said Kornegay, who was picked up by the Lions midway through this season. “But as soon as I got here there was a business-like approach [to winning games] Every game we’ve played has been like a Grey Cup game; we had to win. Tomorrow, we’ll treat it like another game.”
Lions’ running back Andrew Harris got an unexpected gift at Saturday’s rundown. The former junior football star with the Vancouver Island Raiders was given a poster signed by friends and supporters from Nanaimo.
“It’s special because I recognize so many of the names,” said Harris, who was born in Winnipeg. “What was really neat was seeing the names of the kids I had worked with a football camps. It’s nice to know they’re thinking of me.”
The Blue Bombers staged their last workout Saturday in front of family and friends. During the lead-up to kickoff, the Winnipeg players have gone out of their way to say nothing but kind things about B.C. "We're just here to play," said cornerback Jovon Johnson.
The only player to have broken rank was defensive end Odell Willis, who raised eyebrows with his recent tweets saying he couldn’t wait to leave the country and return to the U.S. Willis was a lot less outspoken after practice.
“We’re focused on the Grey Cup, not on what we tweet,” he said. “The Grey Cup has been around longer than the NFL. I’m just proud to be a part of this league.”
Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice admitted he’d had a conversation with Willis and told him “to be smart with that.” As for the rest of his players, LaPolice said, “They’re focused on finishing. The goal is not about being here. I think they’re focused. I think they’re prepared.”