HAMILTON - Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris is taking it personally.
The 16-year CFL veteran says Hamilton defensive back Simoni Lawrence "crossed the line'' midway through the first quarter when he tackled Burris below the waist after he had released the ball. Burris was playing the game with a knee brace after being injured last week against Winnipeg.
"The bottom line is when you play this game there's always mutual respect across the league,'' said Burris, who's team defeated the Tiger-Cats 12-6 on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field to take top spot in the CFL East heading into next week's rematch in Ottawa. Hamilton (10-7) will need to beat the Redblacks (11-6) by six or more points to finish first in the East and earn the bye into the Eastern final.
"You don't try to take guys out and there's no room for that in this game of football,'' Burris added. "If that was the case, people could take shots at guys all the time. But for him to be a linebacker and have a chance to run through me in a regular style in football and instead he knows I wear a brace on my leg but for some reason he goes from running through ... me and tackling me like any other great football player would, but he chooses to ... go straight for my knee.
"Come on now, that's bush league. There's no room for that. I've got a family to feed.''
Burris and Lawrence were teammates in Hamilton for one year.
"For a guy to tell you he loves you at the coin toss and then try to take out your career? Come on now, come on,'' said Burris. "Don't tell me you love me and then stab me in the back.''
No penalty was called on the play.
"If Hank wants to act like that ... act like a whatever, it's on him,'' said Lawrence. "I tackled Mike Reilly last week. He's outside the box, I am low tackling, I tackle all players low. If you watch film, that is how I tackle.''
The post-game bad blood overshadowed a game that didn't see one touchdown scored. Ottawa kicker Chris Milo hit field goals from 35, 16, 24 and 30 yards for the Redblacks' only points. Hamilton kicker Justin Medlock hit both his field-goal attempts, from 45 and 18 yards.
Ottawa coach Rick Campbell wouldn't comment on the incident.
He did say he wasn't comfortable with a six-point lead heading home.
"We're not comfortable at all,'' he said. "They're a very good football team and we're going to go and work to get better this week. We have to be at our best to beat them again and we'll make sure we do that.''
Hamilton head coach Kent Austin said he saw nothing wrong with Lawrence's hit. But he was visibly upset with the loss.
"We were down in scoring territory a couple of times and we had open receivers,'' he said about the game. "We have to make plays.''
He added it is possible they may start Jacory Harris at pivot next week in Ottawa. The Ticats lost starter Zach Collaros to a knee injury in Week 13 and have struggled with rookie Jeff Mathews at the helm.
(The Canadian Press)