Esks receiver fires back as war of words continues with Nik
By Vicki Hall,
EDMONTON - For the sake of digestion, Tom Higgins, head coach of the Calgary Stampeders, is advised to not read the paper this morning over breakfast.
Can't resist? Well, sorry, Tom. We regret to inform you that receiver Nik Lewis has opened his mouth.
Lewis enraged the Edmonton Eskimos last year by calling defensive back Shannon Garrett too old and too scared to cover the Calgary receiving corps. On the eve of the 2006 season opener at McMahon Stadium, Lewis took to the Calgary airwaves and suggested that Ed Hervey is old, that his best years as a wide receiver are behind him.
"He was a good receiver five years ago," said Lewis, 24. "Times come and times go."
Just a few days ago, Hervey, 33, told his teammates to control their anger in hopes of reducing the penalties that dogged the Esks in the pre-season. But the refs don't monitor the papers for taunting, so Hervey unleashed a verbal pummeling Friday directed at Lewis.
"He's one of those guys, at some point, that's going to be taken behind the woodshed, and somebody's going to teach him a lesson," Hervey said. " When guys talk like that, they're insecure about something, and we all know that.
"Last year, he singled out Shannon Garrett, and Shannon Garrett chewed him up. We went to the Grey Cup without Nik Lewis. This year, he wanted to get on me. What is his point? Is it because he has no ring? Is it because he's jealous?"
Lewis caught two passes for 28 yards in a 33-26 Western semifinal win for Edmonton at McMahon Stadium. A week earlier, Lewis racked up eight catches for 145 yards -- most of them coming at Garrett's expense.
"You take a look at last year's performance on his part, with all the trash that he talked, in their biggest game, Nik Lewis was Nik Who-is," Hervey said. "If he played as well as he talked, his team would be celebrating a championship, but he'd rather talk instead of play."
At this point, Higgins, no doubt, is reaching for a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. The clean-living Calgary coach can't stand trash coming from the mouths of his players.
"They talk, and I'd prefer them not to talk," Higgins said Friday. "I'd prefer their actions speak louder than words.
"Sometimes I chuckle at it. Other times, I have to ask them to come into my office and straighten some things out. If it's in jest, fine. If it's directed at somebody individually, then it's inappropriate. But, in fun, let them go. (Eskimos chief executive officer) Hugh Campbell always used to tell me, 'We don't want everyone to be like Tom Higgins. We'd have a very boring team.' And he's right."
There's nothing boring about Lewis. He refers to himself by the name of his alter-ego, Geronimo Jones. His touchdown celebrations are already legendary after just two years in the CFL.
After one touchdown he jumped into the crowd, but the crowd appeared not to want him and pushed back. Another time, he crawled through the triangular advertising signs in the end zone.
"It's nice to have some different characters, and they are characters," Higgins said of his loquacious receiving corps led by Jeremaine Copeland and Lewis.
"But they're good, fun-loving people, and they're not malicious in any which way.
"They are like typical receivers, cocky and confident."
Lewis is the most confident and cocky of them all. He dances. He swears. He brags. And he catches the ball.
"I'm still going to be talking this year and going out there and doing what I can do," Lewis pledged. "Honestly, I don't think anybody can stop me in this league."
Even Garrett, who will shift to defensive back today to replace the injured Donald Brady.
"I like Shannon," Lewis insisted. "I don't know why everybody thinks I don't like Shannon. I said that stuff to pump myself up last year. I like Shannon Garrett. I'm going to the mall right now, so I'll probably get him a birthday present or something. I hope he gets me one. I'll probably give him a touchdown dance, too."
Hey, he just can't help himself.
you thought he would have learned after last years emberrasement