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Veteran OL Revenberg accepting of leadership role with Tigercats

Ryan Revenberg Hamilton Tigercats Ryan Revenberg - The Canadian Press

HAMILTON — Like Mike Filer and Ryan Bomben before him, Brandon Revenberg has become the conscience of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' offensive line.

The six-foo-three, 301-pound left guard is entering his eighth CFL season, all with Hamilton. And with the off-season retirements of tackle Chris Van Zeyl, linebacker Simoni Lawrence and defensive lineman Ted Laurent, the Ticats are looking to Revenberg to take on more of a leadership role with the club.

Much like Filer and Bomben during Revenberg's early years in Hamilton, the 31-year-old Essex, Ont., native is now providing younger players with insight on what it means to be a Ticats offensive lineman.

"They (Filer and Bomben) really took me under their wings and showed me how to do it right," Revenberg said Thursday. "You stand on the shoulders of those who came before you, you've got to pass it down.

"More or less you try to reflect Hamilton. Blue collar, we're going to be tough (SOBs), we're going to get after it and run the ball hard and when we pass we're going to light you up too."

Filer played eight seasons as a centre with Hamilton (2012-19) before retiring in July 2021. Bomben spent 10 years as a guard with Montreal (2010-14, '18), the Ticats (2015-17) and Toronto (2018-19).

While Revenberg readily accepts the leadership role, he admits he'll never fill the void left by Lawrence. The gregarious, colourful linebacker retired after 10 productive seasons with the Ticats before becoming a brand and community ambassador for the Hamilton Sports Group.

"You need those vocal guys on the team, especially with Simoni gone," Revenberg said. "That's a tough guy to replace, I don't even think we can replace that, honestly.

"Now, it's just going to be creating our own identity and just kind of bringing everyone with us."

Revenberg was obviously a very good study. Hamilton's first pick (third overall) in the 2016 CFL draft has been a league all-star four times and an East Division selection the last five years.

Three times Revenberg has been named the East Division's top lineman. And in December, he signed an extension with Hamilton through 2025.

Revenberg has also been a model of durability. He has missed just two games as a pro -- neither to injury -- and started 107-of-120 career regular-season contests.

"I think it's one of those things I try to take care of my body the best I possibly can," he said. "I get treatment every day I can, hit the tubs, get a roll out, get a stretch.

"I try to eat somewhat decently but I still have to keep a little bit of a barrel on me for that weight."

And it also means playing through injury to be there for his teammates.

"You're playing football, you're an offensive lineman, right," he said. "The best you're going to feel is probably the day you're walking into camp, that's about it."

Ticats head coach Scott Milanovich isn't asking Revenberg to assume the leadership mantle alone. He's also called upon centre David Beard (heading into ninth CFL season, third with Hamilton) and right guard Coulter Woodmansey (entering fourth year with Hamilton) to be more vocal.

"I don't know that it's natural, really, for any of them," Milanovich said. "But they're all such pros and so well respected throughout the team that I want them to use their voices a little bit more.

"I'm starting to see they're slowly working their way into that."

Milanovich's decision to approach all three Canadians was no accident as Revenberg, Beard and Woodmansey are virtually inseparable, on and off the field.

"It's one of those things where we get along really well, we love spending time together," Revenberg said. "We're going to be at the stadium, we're going to be eating together, we'll be getting on extra film together, we're going to do our morning lifts together.

"Why wouldn't you want your offensive line doing that? The more we can get involved, the better."

Surprisingly, the trio doesn't have a colourful, catchy moniker.

"Don't say the Three Stooges here now, come on," Revenberg chuckled. "We'll call it The Three Hogs for now."

And while training camp remains a grind, Revenberg said experience does have its benefits this time of year.

"When you come in as a rookie your eyes are really big . . . you don't know what you're doing wrong, you're having a good time just being there," Revenberg said. "As you get older you find more and more intent for the practice and I find in that aspect it does get easier in the sense that I know what I'm trying to accomplish every day."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2024.