Jeff's no mutt for Argos

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

MONTREAL -- It has been a long time for Jeff Johnson.

Johnson took over as the Argos' feature running back yesterday when Sean Millington suffered a torn achilles tendon in the second quarter and provided the Argos with a major performance in their 49-23 victory over the Montreal Alouettes yesterday at Olympic Stadium.

The York University grad carried the ball seven times for 85 yards and had three catches for 76 yards, including a 59-yarder for a touchdown, his first through the air in his five-year career and his first for Toronto since joining the team as a free agent in 2002.

He kept the ball off his latest touchdown as a souvenir.

"It has been so long, too," he said. "I've forgotten what it's like to get in the end zone, so I've got to keep the ball, hold on to it."

Johnson had three touchdowns with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2001, in which he started four games. He joined the Argos the following season as a free agent and has primarily played on special teams.

"I love the game and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, and the decisions that are made you have no bearing upon that, so I just come out," he said. "If they ask me to play, I'm going to play. I love to get in there and get the rock.

"The big thing was coming out and winning this game because we've got first place, and the (offensive line) played phenomenal, and they're the reason I got as many yards as I did."

Argos head coach Pinball Clemons said Johnson has become a real leader on special teams, but consistently impresses the team with his play in practice as a running back.

"You've got two guys who are really good in front of him in John Avery and Sean Millington, and we just never gave him that chance," Clemons said.

With Millington sidelined for the season and John Avery nursing a hamstring injury that kept him out of yesterday's game, Johnson might be the feature back for this Thursday's game against Hamilton at the Rogers Centre.

"You never take anything for granted," Johnson said.

"Taking things for granted makes asses of us all. If I'm there, then I'm going to be balling out and giving my all. If I'm not, then I'm going to be doing it on special teams."


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