By Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SURREY, British Columbia (AP) - Travis Lulay always knew he would be back under center for the B.C. Lions.

He just didn’t expect it to take this long.

The former Montana State quarterback will start his first game of the season Friday night when the Lions (5-4) visit the Ottawa Redblacks, almost a full year after injuring his throwing shoulder in a collision.

“I’m excited. This is why you play the game - to have an opportunity to play,” Lulay said Wednesday. “I don’t take a minute of it for granted. If I learned anything, it was that I feel fortunate to be able to do what I do. I just love being out here with the guys.”

Lulay said going on the six-game injured list at the start of the season gave him a chance to refocus, and it was toward the end of that period when he finally started to feel like he was getting back to normal.

“I knew it was a process … I didn’t know exactly when that process would come to an end,” he said. “I do feel confident in my ability to play well.

“There was so much unknown going into (training) camp, knowing there was a chance that I may be ready early (and) knowing there was a chance it might take a while into the season.”

Lulay has dressed the last three games as a backup - seeing action late in the last two. With the team coming off a bye week, coach Mike Benevides felt the time was right for the 30-year-old to take over the starting role from Kevin Glenn.

“He’s as good as I’ve seen him in a long, long time … a long, long time,” Benevides said. “He’s not going to be as smooth as he wants to be a month from now, but he looks as good as I’ve seen in a long time.”

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