Sidelined Eiben torn up

Kevin Eiben. (SUN/Veronica Henri)

Kevin Eiben. (SUN/Veronica Henri)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

The Argonauts will be without a big piece of the puzzle today when they attempt to tame the lame Hamilton Tiger-Cats once again.

Although he does not play a glamour position and rarely makes headlines, linebacker Kevin Eiben's absence for this afternoon's game against the Ticats (2-10) at the Rogers Centre comes as a considerable blow to the Argos (6-5).

Eiben has won the Lew Hayman Award as the East Division's Most Outstanding Canadian the past two seasons, finishing tied for first in defensive tackles last season with 113. This year he has 56, third best in the CFL.

But perhaps the most impressive stat concerning the native of Delta, B.C., is that he hasn't missed a game since the 2001 season.

The ironman mark is a source a pride for the hard-hitting linebacker.

"I play football with my heart," Eiben said yesterday. "(So) sitting out on the sidelines hurts because I'm letting my teammates down. But this is for the long haul. We're looking at the bigger picture, we're looking at Grey Cup."

Eiben suffered a tear in his left shoulder in Toronto's 40-6 win in Hamilton last Monday and does not want to risk a more serious injury by coming back too early.

Still, Argos head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons said it was tough convincing the outstanding Canadian to sit down.

"If we would have given him the choice, he probably would have played in this game," Clemons said. "That's why he's not on any kind of reserved list (for today's game) because we don't want to be tempted at all. Half the battle is protecting these guys from themselves, they're so competitive."

Meanwhile, the Argos will honour quarterback Damon Allen this afternoon for breaking Warren Moon's record for most passing yards in professional football. Moon will be on hand at the Rogers Centre, as will all five Allen brothers, including Heisman Trophy winner Marcus, and their parents.

Argos safety Orlondo Steinauer believes the Tiger-Cats, still hurting from their spanking during the Labour Day Classic, will be playing with a sense of desperation, given that a loss all but eliminates them from playoff contention.

"I know how coach (Ron) Lancaster thinks," said Steinauer, who brought T-shirts for all his teammates with the words 'We Ride Together' for yesterday's walk-through. "I played for him, I went to two Grey Cups for him."


Videos

Photos