CFL commissioner admits hit on Roughriders’ Collaros warranted penalty

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Zach Collaros looks downfield for a receiver in a game against the B.C. Lions. (Mark Taylor/CP)

TORONTO — Commissioner Randy Ambrosie admitted Monday the CFL dropped the ball regarding how it handled defensive lineman Odell Willis’s helmet-to-helmet hit on quarterback Zach Collaros on Saturday.

Willis delivered the hit on Collaros in the first quarter of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 35-16 win over the B.C. Lions. There was no flag thrown on the play, and only after the Riders challenged was an unnecessary roughness penalty called.

What’s more, Collaros, who has a history of concussions, was allowed to remain in the game despite twice having to squat down to compose himself. He left later for precautionary reasons and didn’t return.

The CFL admitted in a statement released over the weekend that Willis should’ve been flagged for the hit and the Riders shouldn’t have had to use a challenge. It also added its injury spotter should’ve not allowed Collaros to remain in the contest and Willis could face league discipline as a result of the incident.

Ambrosie reiterated all of those points Monday, saying the league’s response to the hit "was clearly inadequate."

"I am committed to removing reckless and dangerous play from our game," he said. "The fact that we did not respond adequately is not acceptable to me.

"I have made that very clear to our personnel today. We are reviewing our processes, protocols and rules to ensure this chain of events is not repeated."

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