CALGARY — After a blistering early season hit on quarterback Zach Collaros, Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence says the two men have made up but he's warning football is a 'dangerous game' and he's not going to change his style of play.
The six-foot-one, 231-pound Lawrence received a two-game suspension for a high hit on then Saskatchewan starting quarterback Zach Collaros in Hamilton's season-opening 23-17 win.
Collaros, who was subsequently dealt to Toronto, was then shipped to Winnipeg at the trade deadline. He was the starter in the Bombers' final regular-season victory and remained in that position for playoff wins over the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan.
Lawrence sent out a tweet congratulating Collaros on the Bombers' win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West final and said the two had already hashed things out in the aftermath of the incident.
"I was just proud of him, you know. Whatever happened earlier in the season happened and I still like him. I still care for him. I was just proud of him," Lawrence said this week.
"Everything's good. We wished each other our best and that's just what it is. At the end of the day, I know how Zach's built. He's a competitive dude. We're excited to play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.''
To Collaros the matter is over and done with.
"We had a conversation there after Labour Day and it's behind us now. Obviously you want to talk through things any time there's a problem in a friendship or any kind of relationship, right? It's nice to get it behind us."
Lawrence said he won't be engaging in any pleasantries with Collaros in Sunday's Grey Cup.
"I'm not a polite person playing football. It's the only time I get to be mean. I'm nice to everybody but with football I get to be mean so I take advantage of it," Lawrence said.
Collaros said he's expecting nothing less from his former Hamilton teammate in a big game.
"A lot of effort. He's a really good football player and I expect him to do whatever (defensive co-ordinator) Mark (Washington) and (head coach) Orlondo (Steinhauer) ask him to do."
Lawrence also said it shouldn't come as a surprise to the public and football fans what the game is all about.
"Football's a dangerous game. I don't understand why people act like football's so nice and pat each other on the butt. It's not like that," he said.
"I didn't grow up playing football like that so I get it, but it is what it is."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2019.
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press