HAMILTON — When receiver Brandon Banks found out that the Tiger-Cats had brought back Chad Owens, he couldn’t help but get excited.
“It put a smile on my face,” Banks told members of the media after practice on Tuesday. “For one, we need help, obviously. And two, just to have him in the locker room, that kind of guy, a future Hall of Famer in my books. Just to have him around, he’s a great friend to me. He’s always texting me after every game. We always communicate so I’m happy to be around him again.”
With season-ending injuries to Jalen Saunders, Shamawd Chambers and Chris Williams, the team decided to bring in Owens and veteran receiver Marquay McDaniel for help in the receiving corps.
McDaniel will be looked upon for help as the Ticats prepare to take on his former team this weekend (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)
The five-foot-seven, 180-pound pass-catcher hit the field on Tuesday, the same day he was added to the team’s practice roster, but left with an apparent injury before practice had concluded. Head coach June Jones also had his first look at the former Calgary Stampeders receiver turned McMaster coach and was impressed with what he saw.
“He (Owens) was out there for a bit,” Jones told members of the media after practice. “He rolled his ankle a little bit. We can’t catch a break on that but he’ll be fine, it sounds like. I was just talking to him. I really liked the kid I hadn’t seen before, the kid from McMaster that was coaching. He’s a true pro.”
Both newly-signed receivers are no stranger to the black and gold.
Owens spent the 2016 season with the Tiger-Cats, playing in 12 games and hauling in 58 passes for 808 yards and five touchdowns. Before joining Calgary in 2012, McDaniel spent three seasons in Hamilton. The 34-year-old played in 37 games in the black and gold, his best season coming in 2011 where he caught 76 passes for 998 yards and seven touchdowns.
“I had talked to him,” Jones said when asked if he was in contact with Owens before deciding to bring him on board. “(We) texted back and forth. On the Saskatchewan game, I was staying late after the game and he came up to the office and we talked for an hour, hour and a half. I’m going to tell you, he looked the same to me on the field until he went out. Hopefully he’ll be okay. I know that he already knows because I was calling a play and he already knew what to do so that was pretty good.”
“We knew that he still had it,” Jones said of the team’s decision to bring McDaniel on board. “He (Assistant General Manager and Director of Football Operations Shawn Burke) had good things to say about him from the time he was here a few years ago and I can already see that. He’s a good player and a true pro.”
McDaniel, who will balance his coaching job at McMaster University with his new commitment with the Tiger-Cats, will likely have his brain picked for any information he can give Hamilton about this weekend’s opponent.
“It’s hard to scout against that,” McDaniel said when asked if he had any tips for his new team against his old one. “Bo just sees what he sees and he runs with it. I can give them tips on what the receivers can do and can’t do but it’s hard to prepare for Bo (Levi Mitchell) and Dave (Dickenson).”
If or when Owens and McDaniel will see playing action is still to be determined as the Tiger-Cats get set to his the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. ET.
– With files from Ticats.ca
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