VANCOUVER — There never has been any parallel between success and the number of members in the 1,000-yard receiving club on a CFL team, but it wouldn’t hurt the B.C. Lions for Geroy Simon to have some company.
On his way to hunting down some of the most esteemed statistical marks in league history, the remarkable slotback added another to his belt Saturday against the Edmonton Eskimos when he went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the eighth straight season.
Simon has built up a 381-yard lead on Montreal’s Ben Cahoon in fifth spot among career receiving yardage leaders, and with two more seasons at his current pace he would catch Milt Stegall for top spot.
It is not, however, a balance to the disaster represented by the Lions’ 5-10 record, nor was it a surprise when Simon suggested Tuesday that his journey to the 1,000-yard total was as tough as anything he has accomplished in his career.
“We’ve struggled and I’m not excluded from that,” Simon said. “I try to pride myself on being consistent and I guess you can see the consistency is still there, but we haven’t had the results.”
And there will be no results in the future if the Lions are unable to develop additional receiving threats, which means they need players for the long term and they must establish enough protection for a quarterback to get them the ball.
Next in line to break the 1,000-yard barrier, providing he can get 171 yards from his final three regular-season games, is Emmanuel Arceneaux.
The 23-year-old sophomore is 31 yards from equalling his rookie totals, and it is the reason the Lions have had preliminary talks on a contract extension before Arceneaux can risk his future on an NFL tryout like so many others this winter.
Simon also has been far less productive than when he led the CFL last year as the top clutch receiver, with 34 receptions on second down to extend drives.
Yet the only reason the Lions have stayed close in their last three games is that their best receiver has delivered down the stretch.
“I’m still getting double-teamed but not as much because we’ve had a little balance [in the offensive attack],” he said. “In crucial situations all the thinking goes out the window and [quarterbacks] look for [number] 81.”