Dave the Lions heart

ERIC FRANCIS

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Few would argue that when Dave Dickenson is healthy he's the CFL's best quarterback. Yet, for the third time in as many years the diminutive B.C. Lions leader is battling a concussion, forcing him to contemplate his playing future on a regular basis. If he were to retire at season's end, the 34-year-old Montana folk hero would finish as the league's most accurate passer of all time, which isn't bad for a 10-year CFL veteran who never dreamed that at five-foot-11 he'd play pro ball.

SUN Media: When did you first think of coming to the CFL?

Dickenson: Heck, I didn't think I was going to make it to college football. Then when I played my last college game I thought 'that's it.' When I did make it I thought 'if I could just make it five years, that would be great.'

Sun Media: What was your reaction to being named the greatest athlete in Montana history by a Sports Illustrated poll?

Dickenson: I was surprised and honoured. It's unwarranted because there are better athletes out there including guys I grew up with. But it's amazing the following I have in Montana -- for some reason people relate to me and I think that's part of the reason I won it.

Sun Media: Would you rather be a pro golfer?

Dickenson: Yes. It's just easier on the body. But I do believe there is something special about winning in a team atmosphere rather than individually. There's nothing better than accomplishing something as a group of guys who are considered family.

Sun Media: What is your most treasured material possession?

Dickenson: I'd have to say the Walter Payton Award I won in college (as the nation's top Div. 1-AA offensive player). I'm actually looking forward to meeting his son Jarrett when we play Montreal -- I want to tell him how glad I am to be associated with his father.

Sun Media: Do you consider yourself tough?

Dickenson: I don't consider myself street tough -- you won't find me brawling outside Cowboys. But I do consider myself tough in that it takes a lot of toughness to sit in the pocket and take shot after shot and get back up. I think guys who played against me would say that.

Sun Media: How do you explain being the most accurate passer in CFL history?

Dickenson: I've always been told I have a very catchable ball -- it doesn't have a lot of rotation. I really believe if you can read coverages and figure out who the open guy is you don't have to have a super-perfect throw.

Sun Media: Who is the best quarterback of all time?

Dickenson: John Elway. Nobody did more with less. I looked and I don't think he has any teammates in the Hall of Fame.

Sun Media: Who had the greatest influence on your career?

Dickenson: Skill-wise, Norv Turner (in San Diego and Miami). I've put some things in our offence this year from him.

Sun Media: What do you see yourself doing after football?

Dickenson: I think I'll coach at some level, whether it be my kids or in the CFL.

Sun Media: If you could change one CFL rule, what would it be?

Dickenson: The single -- I don't think you should reward missing something.

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QUICK HITS

Q: Cash or credit?

A: I put everything on credit cards ... might as well get the Air Miles.

Q: How much in your wallet right now?

A: Just over $100 because a babysitter is coming.

Q: Any movie you can quote from?

A: Stripes: "Lighten up Francis."

Q: Is there a sport you wish you could play?

A: I tried to get going in hockey -- I like a challenge. I truly believe I can play any sport, but I can't swim well.

Q: Last book you read?

A: I read all the James Patterson books that come out. The latest one is Cross.

Q: Who was your hero growing up?

A: Dr. J -- Julius Irving. My favourite football player was Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson.


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