VANCOUVER - Geroy Simon paused for a moment to reflect as he stood on the field where he made a name for himself.
"I've got chills already standing in this place," the Saskatchewan Roughriders' receiver said as he met the media at B.C. Place Stadium on Thursday.
Simon spent 12 seasons with the Lions before being traded to the Riders in January. He became the CFL's all-time leader in receiving yards last season with B.C. and broke the league's record for career receptions last week.
"It feels like home. I'm excited to be here," Simon said. "I'm here as a visitor but it still feels normal."
Simon and the Roughriders hosted the Lions in Regina on Sept. 22, with B.C. securing a 24-22 victory. The 38-year-old said getting the first game against his former team out of the way will help make Friday's matchup easier.
"It was good that we got to play them a couple weeks ago in Regina. I got to see a lot of people and say hi to people I hadn't seen in a long time," Simon said. "I've got to put that aside and help this team win a football game."
Lions head coach Mike Benevides said B.C. plans to honour Simon before the game.
"It's going to be exciting to see him in the building. I know he's going to be ready and jacked up to make an impact on the game," Benevides said. "It's certainly going to be a warm moment because I know the fans are going to acknowledge him in a positive way, and they should.
"It was my privilege to be a coach for him for 10 years."
Simon, who missed five games in 2012 because of hamstring issues, said after the season that he was open to restructuring his contract with B.C.
Lions general manager Wally Buono gave Simon permission to gauge interest in a potential trade, which led to the deal with Saskatchewan.
Simon has 31 catches for 448 yards and three touchdowns so far in 2013, but also missed three games with an upper-body injury.
Friday's contest is crucial for both teams, with Saskatchewan (8-5) looking to snap a four-game losing streak and B.C. (9-4) poised to draw even with the Calgary Stampeders atop the West Division standings.
Lions defensive back Korey Banks said he has nothing but respect for Simon, but added the time for pleasantries is after the game.
"Guys in the UFC are friends and they have to fight one another for the championship and they beat each others brains out," Banks said. "After the game we'll take about it. We'll hug and wish luck."