EDMONTON – Derek Dennis did not follow the party line.
The all-star attacker of the Calgary Stampeders should keep up appearances on his squad just thinking about what's ahead in the Gray Cup against Ottawa Redblacks on Sunday at Commonwealth Stadium (4pm, TSN / 770 CHQR).
But the excitement got the better of him in the hours after the CFL Western Final.
Dennis basically scored the CFL championship as a revenge game since the last time he played in a Gray Cup was two years ago when the Redblacks overcame the 39-33 Stampeders in overtime in Toronto.
"He's the one who did not get the message, yes," St Levi Mitchell said. "I told this on the (Calgary) bus as well. I was laughing at him. I watched the interviews (Monday), and you got me, Alex (Singleton) and Dave (Dickenson) up there saying it's not a rematch, and Derek, like, "Yeah, it's a rematch."
"He was not here last year, so I understand that this is the team he's got revenge on."
In fact, Dennis took his Stamps game for a season to try his luck with the Saskatchewan Roughriders before returning to Red & White last season.
So, his bad feelings about losing the Gray Cup come just two years ago and not from consecutive losses in the title tilt, as with Mitchell and some of the other Stampeders.
"I was not here last year," Dennis said Monday. "For me to be here in 2016 and to know how it was, after we lost, I'm excited to have another chance for them.I know many guys from this team.I'm focused on the blockade.
"I called before the (Western Final) – I was telling everyone that it's 2016 again."
Of course, last year, the Stampeders were defeated by 27 to 24 by the Argonauts of Toronto in the game of the Gray Cup in Ottawa.
"I know a lot of guys are talking about last year," Dennis continued on Monday. "But for me, it was in 2016. I feel that Ottawa took a gray cup from me."
Ever since he said that, Dennis had to have those words – and good for him – in the face of teammates trying to deflect questions about Gray Cup losses.
"I was talking about still being high on the sheer thrill of winning the West Final," Dennis said with a laugh. "I was already excited about having a chance to play in Ottawa. I kind of expected them to win (the Eastern Final).
"As I said, to me, feeling we should have won the Gray Cup, but it did not work out the way we wanted it, I'm happy to have another chance to try to make it up."
He will, along with his teammates, come on Sunday.
"I think the focus on the locker room is very different from what it was in 2016," added Dennis. "I think in '16 we were happy to be there. I think it's more like unfinished business now.
"I did not even go to the trophy ceremony (after last Sunday's final). I was not happy. It's more about getting a gray cup.