Howard a sack machine

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:39 AM ET

EDMONTON - Anthony Calvillo is reportedly free of concussion symptoms.

That’s good news for the one who knocked him out — and out of the game — Friday, when the Montreal Alouettes beat the Edmonton Eskimos 34-21.

Calvillo didn’t make it to the fourth quarter before Eskimos defensive end Marcus Howard planted his helmet in the Alouettes quarterback’s chest.

“It was just a straight-on, head-on shot,” Howard said. “I’m not trying to take him out, not trying to injure him, but I am trying to hurt him.

“I saw a clear opening and I just took it.”

After all, it’s not every day he gets a wide-open path to a quarterback like that.

“That was probably my second time,” Howard said. “The first was against Colt Brennan in the Sugar Bowl.”

That was one of the 3.5 sacks he recorded in the 2008 Sugar Bowl, where his 10-2 Georgia Bulldogs beat the undefeated Hawaii Warriors 41-10.

Howard also forced and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown on his way to being named game MVP — the first purely defensive player to do so in Sugar Bowl history.

But the hit on Calvillo now tops his hit list.

“That was probably the hardest I’ve ever hit somebody,” Howard said. “After I watched it, that was definitely the hardest I’ve ever hit somebody.”

Calvillo was flushed out of the pocket by fellow end Julius Williams, who was in pursuit of his third sack of the game.

“I just beat the tackle on the edge, so I’m thinking that I’m going to get the sack. I didn’t even see Marcus until the last minute,” said Williams, who has three sacks on the season. “All of a sudden, I just heard a loud boom, and I just saw dreads and I just saw Calvillo on the ground.

“It was a huge play.”

Instead of succumbing to Williams, Calvillo ran into — and over by — Howard, who leads the Eskimos with seven sacks in seven games, despite not coming to the CFL until Week 6 following his release by the Tennessee Titans.

Prior to that, Howard played nine games in his rookie NFL season after being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008.

That’s, in fact, where he picked up his celebratory post-sack salute.

“I’m just having fun,” Howard said. “I still talk to Robert Mathis from the Indianapolis Colts. It’s a sign that those guys do.

“I look up to them and I’m just trying to be like them.”

Howard said he values the time he spent with Mathis and fellow defensive end Dwight Freeney.

“I learned a lot from them,” Howard said. “Robert Mathis is a guy I really look up to, we talk maybe once or twice a month. During the off-season we train together.”

MADDEN-ING: Underrated, or an overachiever? Regardless, Howard appears in the new Madden NFL 12 video game where he is rated a lowly 48 overall out of 100.

But as far as his simulated skill set is concerned, Howard is less than impressed to be included.

“Yeah, yeah. I saw that,” he said. “They’ve got my speed slow, they’ve got my everything slow, so I don’t need to be on it.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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