WINNIPEG — Players gearing up for Sunday's Grey Cup showdown arrived in Winnipeg Tuesday night, planning to enjoy the festivities — but not too much — while they prepare for the big game.
"Yeah, we do curfew," Ottawa Redblacks coach Rick Campbell told reporters shortly after the team's plane landed.
"I think there's a balance you can strike of being able to participate and see some things without being in full party mode".
Players didn't seem bothered by the idea of a nightly curfew — 11 p.m. in Ottawa's case.
"I don't mind because I'm going to be in my bed," said Redblacks fullback Patrick Lavoie. "We know what we have to do."
Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris is gunning for his third Grey Cup ring. The 40-year-old said the fact the Redblacks are in the championship in the franchise's second year is a tribute to the way the players and coaches have gelled.
"With all the growing pains we had to go through as an organization, as a team last year, it's created a group of guys that never say die in that locker room."
The Eskimos won both regular-season matchups between the two teams, early in the season in July, but they are not taking anything for granted going into Sunday.
"It was a dogfight," defensive lineman Odell Willis said.
"Those guys fought hard. It just so happened we were able to make more plays than they did, and we were able to get the W."
Quarterback Mike Reilly said Ottawa has come a long way.
"They were a very different team when we played them early in the season and so are we," he said.
"It's not a coincidence that they're in the Grey Cup. They've been playing great football and they deserve to be there. So we're going to have to put together a great performance in order to get the win."
Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press