Brandon Banks has a tough act to follow. Peter Shorts Jersey Store . His own. The five-foot-seven, 153-pound receiver/kick-returner is the reason why Hamilton will host Montreal in the East Division semifinal Sunday in Guelph, Ont. On Oct. 26, Banks returned a missed field goal 107 yards for the decisive TD in a thrilling 27-24 home win over the Alouettes. The victory earned Hamilton (10-8) second in the East and home-field advantage in a playoff rematch with Montreal (8-10). Banks, who joined the Ticats on Sept. 30, also had a 45-yard TD run earlier in the contest. Suffice to say, Banks isnt heading into the CFL playoffs under the radar. "Thats cool, thats part of football," he said. "They still have to go out there and execute and stop me or whoever is getting the ball. "I dream about (making big returns with game on the line) every week and hopefully I can make a difference. Im going to try. I want the ball in my hands and be able to go the distance at any moment." Banks has been a versatile performer for Hamilton. Offensively, he has nine catches for 95 yards and six carries for 60 yards and a TD. He has also returned punts (17 for 107 yards) and kickoffs (14 kickoffs for 319 yards). Given his diminutive stature, its no surprise Banks forte is speed. In 2006, USA Today named the native of Garner, N.C., to its all-USA high school track team after he posted a 100-metre time of 10.42 seconds. And at Kansas State, Banks returned five kickoffs for TDs. Invariably the conversation always seems to revert back to Banks compact stature, but the 25-year-old is very comfortable in his own skin. "Its kind of normal now," he said. "Ive been going through it since I was little, its a normal question for me." Little? "Actually, when I was younger, I should say," Banks said before bursting out in laughter. Banks joined the Washington Redskins in 2010 as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in 41 games over three seasons, registering 119 kickoff returns for 2,856 yards and TD, 100 punt returns for 937 yards and 11 career receptions. But ball security was an issue as Banks had 12 career special-teams fumbles and another as a receiver. Banks was inactive for Washingtons final four regular-season games last year and became an unrestricted free agent in March when the Redskins didnt tender him an offer as a restricted free agent. Banks certainly filled a need for Hamilton, which had been in the market for an explosive returner after rookie Lindsey Lamar suffered a concussion earlier this season. Former Ticats star Chris Williams was the CFLs top special-teams player last year but became embroiled in a contract impasse with the club and never reported, eventually being allowed to join the NFLs New Orleans Saints. "I like the situation Im in right now," Banks said. "I think its everybodys dream to be in the NFL but if this is the best place for me to be, Id love to stay." Banks skillset is tailor-made for the longer, wider Canadian field. Special-teams play is crucial in three-down football because not only can it result in game-winning returns but result in teams getting very good field position to start drives. "Being elusive, fast and quick . . . I definitely try to use those to my advantage," Banks said. "Speed kills in the game of football. "Special-teams here are very important because theyre a third of the game and you can average 20-some plays on special teams per game. Im trying to use the wider field and not being able to call for a fair catch to my advantage. I base my skills on doing a lot of eluding and trying to run by guys." Banks return TD gave Hamilton the season series with Montreal for the first time since 02. The Ticats have reached the East Division final once since then, that coming in 11 when they lost 19-3 in Winnipeg. The Ticats last won the Grey Cup in 99, beating Calgary 32-21 at B.C. Place under late coach Ron Lancaster. But Banks focus now remains squarely on a Montreal team Hamilton will face for the third time since Sept 21. "Of course, you want to take care of home and dont want to lose at home but I think theres pressure on both teams," Banks said. "Win or go home, right? "It will come down to execution. I think the team that has the fewest penalties in the game will win." China Jerseys Online . PAUL, Minn. Mack Strong Jersey Store . Which is to say, the top of this years draft class is not as dynamic or exciting as the 2013 class of Nate MacKinnon, Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Drouin and Seth Jones and its not as strikingly promising as the highly-anticipated 2015 slate of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin.2. If, at the start of the NBA playoffs, you picked Kawhi Leonard to be the MVP of the Finals, could you please produce a witness or some other form of proof?3. Its pretty hard to avoid asking it like this, so here goes: Didnt it do your heart good to see Erik Compton qualify for the Masters with his runner-up finish at the U-S Open?4. Already charged with killing three men, Aaron Hernandez is also charged with threatening to kill a jail guard and his family and with assaulting a handcuffed inmate. Of course, we presume Hernandez is innocent until proven guilty, but what are the chances hes innocent on all counts?5. I say this every time a new team picks a nickname that doesnt seem to fit—"Well get used to it". So are we comfortable yet with "Ottawa Redblacks"?6. And not to pick on Ottawa, but what are the chances that Erik Karlsson will play his entire career as a Senator? When Daniel Alfredsson leaves one year and Jason Spezza asks to leave the next, and when the sagas of Dany Heatley and Alexei Yashin are remembered, it makes you wonder, doesnt it?7. You know how Oscar recipients react with that "I never expected to win" expression? That was USA soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the 32-second mark vs. Ghana. The difference? The actors are acting.8. If its wrong to mention a no-hitter in the 8th inning, should I not point out that Mark Buehrle has made 443 career starts without spending a day on the disabled list?9. Would you like to pass on some sound advice to the general manager of your favourite NHL team? Tell him to spend a lot more time thinking about what to do on draft day than on July 1st. Use the Los Angeles Kings as an example of a team built largely with draft picks and players acquired in trades and hardly at all with free agents.10. How many ways can you dislike a human being, and how close is Donald Sterling to the maximum?11. Conversely, when a person is described as "nice", it is considered a compliment, but because there are too many of the other kind, dont youu think it should be regarded as high praise? One of the nicest people I ever interviewed was Tony Gwynn. Morgan Tiller Jersey Store. 2. Just wondering—have you seen a car flying the flag of Cameroon? Your answer—"maybe". 13. How do you argue that a pitchers win total is a meaningful stat when Randy Choate of the St. Louis Cardinals records a win by throwing one pitch? Well, you argue that Choates one pitch got the Cardinals out of a bases-loaded jam in a 1-1 tie and it was the most important pitch of the game….I guess.14. If you liked Spain or Portugal to win the World Cup, are you now trying to remember how many people you told?15. If the NHLs "compliance buyout period" sounds too cumbersome, what do you say we refer to "Ville Leino Days"?16. If the Blue Jays arent impressing you quite as much these days, can you name another American League East team that seems likely to overtake them?17. With the San Antonio Spurs in mind, is there anybody who will claim its unfair if Carmelo Anthony signs with the Miami Heat?18. The National League may be a pitchers league, but can you name a pitcher who is about to face Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen 1-2-3 in the Pittsburgh Pirates batting order who would feel confident?19. After being three wins away from the Stanley Cup, do you think the New York Rangers begin next season as a strong championship contender or as just another team in the Eastern Conference? Heres something to know—in the last 30 years, the number of teams that lost the Stanley Cup final one year and won the Stanley Cup the next year is one—Pittsburgh Penguins 2008-09.20. And finally, we learned from Martin Kaymer that Fathers Day in Germany was two weeks ago. Does it make you wonder how many other Fathers Days there are in how many other countries? Me neither, but thanks to Martin Kaymer, and apart from Erik Compton, it was the most interesting part of the U-S Opens final round.Video—"My Fathers Eyes"—Eric Clapton. ' ' '
top of page
bottom of page