Good bye: Team leaves game behind on week off Matthews lets players rest up for stretch run


Some went fishing. Others used the time to go back home. Coach Don Matthews even found time to play golf.

After having six days off from practice for their bye week, the Stallions had a light workout yesterday and now face a crucial period. It's three weeks before the playoffs begin and six days until the Stallions (13-3) play host to British Columbia (9-7), which beat the Stallions in the opening week.

"This was planned long ago," said Matthews, who never had given his team more than five days off in previous years. "If we had a bye earlier in the season, we wouldn't have done it."

The Stallions came into their bye week as one of the hottest teams in the CFL, having won eight straight and clinched home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. But nose tackle Jearld Baylis said the bye week couldn't have been scheduled better.

"You really feel refreshed," said Baylis, who fished occasionally during the break. "You get all that staleness out from the previous games. It gives us time to recover from some nicks and bruises."

Running back Mike Pringle said the time off wouldn't cause the Stallions to lose focus heading into the final weeks. Although Pringle never touched a football during the break, he said football always was on his mind when he went back to Los Angeles to visit friends and family.

"Right now, I'm in the best shape of the season," Pringle said. "We learned some new things out there today, but I don't think anyone has slipped."


Rookie offensive lineman John James rejoined the Stallions after signing a practice roster contract yesterday. The Stallions released James, who had started seven games this season, on Oct. 5 after he refused to drop down to the practice squad. James started the season on the practice team, but injuries opened a spot for him on the active roster. However, he had not played since Sept. 9 after spraining his right ankle. . . . Outside linebacker Ken Benson, who led the CFL in tackles in 1993, is back on the practice roster after recovering from an ankle injury.

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