Bombers' Bighill accepts apology from Alouettes' Adams after helmet-swinging incident
Adam Bighill has accepted an apology from Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr., after being struck in the chin with his own helmet.
“I’ll say it like this: He reached out and apologized to me on social media, privately, which I respect and I think that was important,” Bighill said Tuesday after the Bombers practised for the first time since Saturday’s 38-37 loss to the Alouettes in Montreal.
“At the end of the day, emotions run high in this game. Obviously, he would take it back if he was in that moment again. To me, it’s really water under the bridge. That’s really all it can be. There’s no reason to be upset about it now.”
Adams swung the helmet at Bighill’s unprotected face after ripping it off his head as the two blocked each other on an interception return by Winnipeg safety Jeff Hecht.
The Montreal quarterback was flagged for unnecessary roughness but was not immediately ejected from the game, which the CFL now acknowledges should have been the case. Adams was suspended for one game on Monday for a “dangerous and reckless act.”
He came back on Saturday to engineer two late touchdown drives and cap an epic comeback from a 24-point deficit.
While the Bombers have no one but themselves to blame for their monumental collapse, they couldn’t help but wonder how different things would have been if Adams had been ejected, as league rules mandate.
“The league took action,” Bombers defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall said. “He’s suspended, but to me it doesn’t make any difference because it has no effect on us now.
“Take action during the game. I don’t know who (the Alouettes) play this week, but the other team gets the advantage.”
The Alouettes will face the B.C. Lions on Saturday and Adams will serve his suspension as he has decided not to appeal.
He told reporters in Montreal Tuesday that he doesn’t want to show that he’s fighting what happened. “I’m just going to pay my dues and get ready for next week.”
“I reached out to Bighill, told him I apologized, it wasn’t my intention to hurt him or anything like that. He said I hit him in the face but I told him that if I him hit in the face, I didn’t mean to. I was really just trying to get you off, and get you away from me.”
Bombers coach Mike O’Shea commended the CFL for dealing with the situation quickly and had no interest in deflecting any of the blame for Saturday’s loss onto the officials.
“No matter what I feel, the bottom line is we didn’t handle our business,” he said. “If we take care of our business, then these things don’t even matter.”
“I have no idea what the league’s gonna do or what they should have done,” Bombers defensive back Chandler Fenner added. “What we should have done is win that game and we didn’t. We have to evaluate ourselves and do better. Finish games.”
Adams wound up throwing for 488 yards and four touchdowns. He had 248 yards and three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter alone.
He’s an emerging star in the CFL and in Montreal, so there will be some sting to the suspension.
“It’s unfortunate,” Alouettes coach Khari Jones said. “He’s paying the price for a moment of indiscretion. I get it, I understand it. We’ll accept it and move on.”
Bombers safety Jeff Hecht said what Adams did has no place in football and he hopes the suspension will send a message to players around the league.
“It’s not a play you want to see in football,” Hecht said. “Sometimes emotions get the better of guys. I know (Adams) and he’s not a malicious guy or a bad guy. He just had, like we all have, a momentary loss of emotional control. When you’re in the trenches, sometimes that takes over. Hopefully, across the league, everybody can learn from it and keep that stuff off the football field.”
Bombers trying to flush Montreal Meltdown, but it’s not easy
CFL players and coaches often talk about the need to flush a disappointing result as quickly as possible.
Some games are harder than others. Take, for example, the Bombers 38-37 loss in Montreal Saturday, a game in which they blew a 24-point lead.
“I still didn’t feel very good the next couple of days, until this morning, but we’ve got to move on from it,” Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said Tuesday.
“As difficult a time as I’m having moving on from it, the players HAVE to. They’re the ones who have to play this next game and get it right.”
So, did O’Shea get the sense in practice that the players are letting it go?
“It’s not just about letting it go,” said O’Shea, whose team will face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night at IG Field. “It’s about recognizing it, learning from it, applying the corrections on the field and moving on from the emotion, which I think they have done.”