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Canadian Football League

Inside the CFL: War of Words

By Ted Michaels, CFL Columnist

Hamilton, ON ( - Football is a game that must be played with emotion.

And sometimes you don't have to work too hard to stir up that emotion.

Last week, the Calgary Stampeders were preparing to host the Saskatchewan Roughriders. With a win, Calgary would claim first place in the West Division, which means they would host the West Final on Nov. 17.

As big a game as it was, the venom reached the boiling point mid-week.

Actually, the pot got stirred several weeks earlier when Saskatchewan tailback Kory Sheets said he was the best back in the league, even better than Calgary's Jon Cornish.

Now, to be fair, Sheets was injured for a few weeks this season, but even when healthy, it's easy to see why the Stampeders were irked.

Heading into the game, Cornish, the CFL's leading rusher, had 134 more rushing yards than Sheets, despite having 42 fewer carries. If you compare average yards per carry, Cornish, again, outperformed Sheets, 7.2 to 5.6.

Finally, Calgary defensive lineman Charleston Hughes had enough.

In one of several tweets, he wrote, "He is not bout to come in McMahon and think he is gonna get the ball and do what he want... there is a rude awakening after that hand off."

He later spoke with the media and said, "I mean, it's almost to the point where I'm just tired of hearing them talk.

"We're actually being the gentlemen and not really saying much. We're just keeping quiet and waiting until Saturday comes to play the game. I'm just tired of hearing it, so I figure, 'You know what? If ain't nobody going to speak out, I'll be the one to speak out about it.'"

Hughes was just warming up.

"I'm just tired of hearing (Sheets) say he's better than Cornish, and I'm tired of hearing about their offense hootin' and hollerin' about how good they are and what they're going to do when they come into McMahon Stadium.

"They've got another thing coming if they think they're just going to come in here and do whatever they want."

So, the next step involved the media asking Sheets if he regretted his statement.

"Not at all. I stand behind everything I said. No matter what happens. I still believe I'm the best back in this league. If I didn't get hurt, I still say we wouldn't be having this conversation."

Saturday night, the message was delivered.

Cornish ran for 109 yards and the winning touchdown in a 29-25 victory. The win means Calgary will play the winner of the BC at Saskatchewan semifinal game.

What did Sheets get? Eleven carries for 42 yards.

To compound his frustration, he got into a verbal altercation with Riders offensive coordinator George Cortez after not getting the ball when the Riders were inside the Calgary 10-yard line.

Then, to add fuel to the fire, Saskatchewan defensive back Dwight Anderson didn't mince words after the game.

"We're coming here (for the West Final), and we're going to beat them -- period.

"We're the better team. Calgary (stinks)."

Every playoff game has a story line.

I think we just found one.

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.

Comments? Criticism? Applause?

10/28 14:25:11 ET

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