Wake ready to roar

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Cameron Wake came awfully close to sacking his football career a few years ago.

From the Argonauts' standpoint, it's too bad Wake didn't take the plunge into real life, because it's hard to fathom how he won't run roughshod over them tonight at the Rogers Centre.

Wake, from his spot at defensive end with the B.C. Lions, has been dominating CFL quarterbacks since breaking into the league last year, and with 18 sacks in 2008, needs nine in the Lions' final five games to break the league record of 261/2.

"I went home and was thinking about taking a 9-to-5 job," Wake said of his outlook after he was released by the New York Giants in 2006. "I was out of football for a little while and that made me hungry. At the time it was not good and I did not like it at all but it was a blessing in disguise. It fuelled the fire and made me angry."

The Lions knew enough about Wake, who had been a linebacker at Penn State, to invite him to a workout session. But Wake missed it, going to the wrong location. Still, the Lions thought they were on to something, and invited him to training camp last year solely on the basis of seeing him on tape.

Not only did Wake crack the roster, he was named the CFL's most outstanding defensive player as well the most outstanding rookie.

And here come the sad-sack Argos, who, among other things, will start a player at left tackle, Cliff Washburn, who most recently played in a pro game in 2006 with Toronto.

Jude St. John should bolster the offensive line in coming back from injury, but quarterback Kerry Joseph might wind up wishing he remained benched in favour of Cody Pickett. The Lions have 52 sacks in total and in the West Division final last year, Wake sacked Joseph, who was playing for Saskatchewan, an astounding five times.

It's a scary proposition for the Argos, who have allowed 30 sacks this season, second-most in the league. They are 4-9, have lost four in a row, and have to win to cling to any hope of making the playoffs. With four consecutive victories, the Lions have all but forgotten about a 4-5 start.

The Argos were trying to convince themselves that the 6-foot-3, 257-pound Wake is nothing special, but that's like saying Sidney Crosby finds an open teammate just once in a while.

"Last time I checked, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like me," Argos guard Taylor Robertson said of Wake. "I'm not taking anything away from the guy. He has had a great year. But if you blow it up too much, you go out and wave a white flag, and that is not what we are doing at all."

Wake had 16 sacks last season, which was tops in the league. The Maryland native reportedly has an escape clause in his contract that he can take advantage of in February. Many think he will do just that and explore his NFL options.

"I don't even know what is going to happen," Wake said. "It's not something I can concentrate on."

Nor is Wake apparently thinking of the CFL sack record, set in 1984 by James (Quick) Parker of the Lions.

"To be honest, I have not thought about the record too much," Wake said. "I will look at it after the season is over and you pat yourself on the back then. I am looking for the ring. The Grey Cup is the goal, not setting a record."


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