The Toronto Argonauts look to rebound from last year’s terrible season, where they were last in the league in both offensive and defensive categories.
They’ve been making changes on both sides of the ball to ensure that this year isn’t a repeat performance of the previous season.
Three mainstays of the Argos franchise have handed in their double blues for a seat on the couch, or so it was thought.
Linebacker Michael O’Shea was expected to retire, holding the second spot for all-time tackles in the CFL, and tops for Canadian-born players.
O'Shea spent 12 of the last 16 years in the league with the Argos, but at the news conference he decided to seek employment elsewhere to everyone’s surprise.
Chad Folk, another 12-year man who spent his whole career with Toronto called it quits, leaving with two Grey Cup rings.
Chris Hardy rounds out the three players exiting the Argo organization, having played the last half of his 12-year career with the double blue. The versatile Hardy played in the secondary,on special teams, and doubled as an emergency kicker/punter.
Immediate impact should be felt by the infusion of the recent signings. Bolstering the offensive line is one of the toughest line men in the league, Rob Murphy, and the “Angry Frenchman” Dominic Picard.
On defense, the Argos picked up LB Nick Hannah, CB Alphonso Hodge and CB Reggie Lewis, which should fill a few holes.
Zeke Moreno, the recently acquired all-star linebacker from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, should also be a force on the defensive side of the ball for the Boatmen.
The Argos also re-signed their 2008 Outstanding Defensive Player-of-the-Year, who led the team with 72 tackles, “Ill Will” LB Willie Pile. And on the QB front, Kerry Joseph extended his contract with the team through the 2010 season.
With all the moves the Argonauts have made, Torontonians can be assured of the commitment by at least one team in the city to improve in the upcoming year.
I am looking forward to being down at the games this summer, perusing the snack bars, hallways, and dressing rooms of the Rogers Centre, while watching what I believe will be a winning product.