Simon downplays first game against B.C. Lions 0
Wide receiver (right) Geroy Simon looks over at BC Lions Football Club vice president of football operations and GM Wally Buono during a press conference at the BC Lions practice facility in Surrey , British Columbia, Thursday January 24, 2013, The BC Lions football club trade wide receiver Geroy Simon to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
The implications for Sunday's game are big, yes.
If the B.C. Lions beat Saskatchewan, they will move into a tie with the Roughriders in the West Division standings. And if they lose, then their hopes of hosting a playoff game become all the more difficult to achieve.
But while both sides know what's at stake in the team's first of three meetings in the regular season, another storyline is gaining just as much hype leading up to the weekend tilt.
Geroy Simon will be facing his former team for the first time this year in a matchup many fans have had circled on their calendar — although the 15-year veteran didn't mark it down himself.
"As cliche as this sounds, I have to treat this as any other game once it gets going," Simon said. "But I'll be excited and ready to go for this game just because I'm going against guys I practised against the last 10 to 12 years. I didn't want to try to look ahead to the B.C. games and worry about those at that time.
"I'm not worried about who the opponent is, I just want to go out and win."
The veteran slotback was traded to the Riders in January for receiver Justin Harper — who was released by the Leos before the season — and a third-round pick. He spent 12 seasons in the orange and black, setting club and league records and making his mark as arguably the CFL's best receiver of all-time.
However, things haven't exactly gone all Simon's way in Saskatchewan.
The 38-year-old, who missed the first three games of the year with a leg injury, has gone over 50 receiving yards just twice in 2013 and caught two passes or fewer in five of eight matches. He is ranked fourth on the Riders with 341 yards and also has three touchdowns.
"I can be more productive if given the opportunity to be," Simon said of being under-utilized. "That's not something I can worry about. For the past 12 years, I was the focal point of the offence, but it just hasn't been that way for me.
"I just have to go out and execute the plays that are called whether I'm the focal point or not."
Even so, the six-time all-star says he's got "a lot left in the tank" and will certainly be motivated come Sunday, especially since he is five catches away from tying Ben Cahoon's record of 1,107 receptions.
The Lions aren't underestimating their former teammate either — even if his numbers aren't as high as they tend to be.
"You see how he played last week and you see how he's played the last couple of weeks, he's been outstanding," coach Mike Benevides said. "It'll be great to see him.
"Trust me, nobody has forgotten."