HAMILTON — In Bralon Addison's mind, he's ready to return to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' starting lineup.
The Ticats added the speedy receiver to their active roster Tuesday. Addison, 27, missed the first half of the season due to a knee injury suffered before the start of training camp.
"I told all the guys, I told the coaches I wasn't going to be a guy that came back just to come back," Addison told reporters during a videoconference. "When I was ready to practise it was because I felt I could help the team.
"I know the coaches want to see (if) I can withstand a whole week of practice before they actually pencil me into the lineup. But as far as myself, I'm feeling well, I'm feeling fine, I'm ready to compete, I'm ready to play. I think my job is to go out there and prove I can withstand a full week of practise and be ready for a game and hopefully I can help this team."
Addison's return would certainly be timely for Hamilton (4-3), which hosts the Montreal Alouettes (2-4) in a key East Division contest. Addison was a 2019 CFL all-star when he registered 95 catches for 1,236 yards and seven TDs.
Addison is in his third season with Hamilton, having recorded 103 catches for 1,349 yards and eight touchdowns. The five-foot-nine, 197-pound American has also rushed for 218 yards and a TD on 36 carries.
Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinuaer is taking a wait-and-see approach with Addison.
"It was good to see Bralon back out there besides running on the sideline and doing routes there," Steinauer said. "It was good to get him reintegrated back in the mix.
"He looked good and that's a general statement but specifically I just mean he didn't really have a lot of mental busts, which is important. Obviously he won't be full strength for a few weeks but it's good to have him back out there. He's a great teammate and great person."
Addison wasn't the only veteran Ticat back practising after missing time with an injury.
Receiver Brandon Banks, who's missed three games with a rib ailment, took a lot of reps Tuesday. Also practising were offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl (thumb) and safety Mike Daly (neck).
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (ribs) also took a lot of practice reps Tuesday. Masoli has dressed for Hamilton's last two games but as the backup as David Watford has been the starter for wins over Calgary (23-17 on Sept. 17) and Ottawa (24-7 on Sept. 27).
Steinauer said Masoli, Banks and Addison were all significantly pushed Tuesday to see if their bodies could withstand the rigours of playing football. How they recover will go a long way toward determining their status for Saturday's contest
"We really pushed them and gave them a sample of what it may feel like, at least conditioning-wise, for the game," Steinauer said. "There's a chance we'll see Bralon but it's all predicated on how he feels.
"David and Jeremiah will suit up again and ultimately how (Masoli) is feeling and how his arm responds to more throws will determine really who starts for us."
Steinauer said Banks, the CFL's outstanding player in 2019, experienced "a bit of discomfort there, to be honest with you," in practice.
"He's tough, he pushed through it and I was proud of him for that," Steinauer said. "I saw him push on the gas pedal a couple of times out there, which was encouraging so he looks like he's got his burst there.
"But for a lot of these guys that are going to be in action for the first time, if it goes that way, they're going to have to get hit and get up from it also."
Masoli opened the season as Hamilton's starter before being injured in the Ticats' 30-8 road loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 14.
If Masoli can't go Saturday, he said the Ticats have full confidence in Watford.
"I can't say enough good things about Dave," Masoli said. "We're 100 per cent confident in Dave."
But Addison suggested Masoli looked good in Tuesday's practice.
"If it was my opinion, I'd say he looks good," Addison said. "I thought he threw the ball well but at the end of the day I'm not him, I don't know how his body feels.
"But as a receiver, I'd feel comfortable playing in a game with him."
Slowly but surely, Hamilton's walking wounded appear to be getting healthy, which is good given the club is preparing for the second of four straight games versus East Division competition. However, Steinauer credited the Ticats' depth for the club sitting atop the conference standings despite its injury situation.
"Very pleased with the people who've stepped in . . . with the wins and growth we've produced thus far," Steinauer said. "We'll figure out who we're going to be after everybody gets a few more games under their belt but it's good to have some other familiar faces out there.
"But I'm very proud and pleased with the job that's been done by everybody who's stepped up thus far."
And Steinauer isn't looking past Montreal, which has dropped two straight and is 1-2 within the East Division. Alouettes starter Vernon Adams Jr. suffered a rib injury in last week's 30-27 road loss to Toronto but was a full participant in practice Tuesday.
"Montreal, in my opinion, is better than its record," he said. "They've got great players, they're well coached, you turn the tape on and they play hard.
"It just hasn't shown up for them as much as they probably would've liked in the win column. We're aware of what the schedule and this upcoming month has as far as who we play but all of our focus and attention, first and foremost, is on Day 2 of practice (Wednesday) and then, of course, Montreal this week."
Hamilton also placed Canadian rookie tight end Jake Burt on the six-game injured list. The Ticats selected Burt first overall in the 2021 CFL draft but the former Boston College star has yet to play for the team.
Canadian kicker Michael Domagala and American linebacker Corey Thompson were put on the practice roster. Domagala had been on the active roster while Thompson moves from the suspended list.
American defensive tackle Jhaustin Thomas was released from the practice roster.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press