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Reed defends Morley's controversial tackle

Edmonton Eskimos' Jerome Messam (L) pushes off Saskatchewan Roughriders' Tyron Brackenridge during his 1000th yard carry in their CFL football game in Edmonton November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber

Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters

The tweets are in and they're not in favour of the low hit that knocked Edmonton Eskimos' running back Jerome Messam head over cleats and perhaps out of Sunday's West Division final.

Players throughout the CFL, including B.C. Lions' receiver Geroy Simon, have thumbed their disdain for the way Calgary Stampeders' safety Demetrice Morley took down a charging Messam. Morley's low tackle in the third quarter left Messam hobbled for the balance of Sunday's West semi-final won by Edmonton 33-19.

The West's nominee for most outstanding Canadian honours was scheduled to be examined by doctors Monday and will then meet with Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed.

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Asked Monday if he thought Morley's hit was unacceptable, Reed, a former defensive back, answered, "It was not a dirty hit.

"To make a tackle on a big guy [Messam weighs 245 pounds, Morley weighs 195]you gotta go low. It's absolutely, 100 per cent [not dirty] It's a football play. If we cry wolf about it, we'd be culpable, too."

Reed's explanation was that a lot of smaller defensive backs tackle low, including those on his own team.

"Jykine Bradley, he's never hit anyone high in his life," said Reed. "He knows everybody's shoe sizes."

The Eskimos are unsure of Messam's status but are hoping to have linebacker J.C. Sherritt and offensive lineman Greg Wojt back in the lineup. Both missed the semi-final with ankle injuries.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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