Changin' with the times

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Ancient Toronto Argonauts pivot Damon Allen, 41, might be old news to some but he still has the full attention of the Calgary Stampeders.

The CFL's all-time leading passer with more than 64,000 yards, Allen has spent half his life playing three-down football in Canada, driving defences to distraction for more than two decades with his bottomless bag of tricks.

When he isn't beating teams with his arm, the league's third-most prolific rusher all-time is out-running defenders with legs that have yet to get a peek at his birth certificate.

Stampeders linebacker John Grace, still five days from facing Toronto in Calgary's season opener Friday night at McMahon Stadium, is already thinking about how to stop the ageless wonder.

"That's why Damon's been in the league 20 years -- because he's been able to reinvent himself every year," Grace says.

"Damon adds something to his game or takes something away that doesn't work anymore. He's seen this league evolve in the time he's been here from one type of defence to another.

"That's one thing Damon's always done, he's always been able to adapt."

A grandfather who turns 42 next month, Allen proved in the Argos' season opener Saturday he still has plenty left in the tank, despite being edged 27-20 in a Grey Cup rematch by Dave Dickenson's B.C. Lions.

Allen completed 22 of 35 passes for

284 yards against the Lions, while darting out of the backfield five times for 19 yards.

After recovering from a broken left tibia last season, Allen returned late in the year and was instrumental in the Argos' remarkable playoff run while adding some grey to the Grey Cup by claiming game MVP honours for the second time.

Allen completed 13 consecutive passes in a game against the Stampeders last year, still defying the odds as one of the dominant QBs in the CFL.

"The defences have changed over the years he's been in this league and what we saw from Damon last year we might not see this year, he could be a totally different player," Grace says.

"The key is to watch and see how he creates plays and carries the team.

"His biggest asset is he's a player who can do it all and he can change it and adapt to what he sees."


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