Calvillo back with attack

Anthony Calvillo's resurgence is the main reason for the Als' strong start in 2008. SUN MEDIA/Jesse...

Anthony Calvillo's resurgence is the main reason for the Als' strong start in 2008. SUN MEDIA/Jesse Johnston

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

Concentrating on defensive formations and curl routes is near impossible when someone at home is dealing with chemotherapy and radiation.

Work gets put on hold when a family member is sick, and Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo is no different than any loving husband.

So when wife Alexia was diagnosed with lymphoma last October, Calvillo left the Als to be with her and take care of daughters Athena and Olivia, a newborn.

The team suffered without their Hall-of-Fame pivot, but that hardly matters in the big picture.

Fast forward to this spring, and Alexia is through chemotherapy and doing well in her fight with the disease.

That frees up Calvillo to do what he does best: Throw passes and score points in the CFL.

And in two wins to start the 2008 season, the 35-year-old is playing with the energy of someone 10 years younger.

The Als will try to make it 3-0 when they host the Calgary Stampeders tonight at Percival Molson Stadium (5 p.m., TSN).

Win or lose, Calvillo is having fun again.

"It was something I was looking forward to, and something my wife was excited about, too," Calvillo said.

"I've been talking about getting back into a normal routine of football life. It's exciting that we're winning and playing at a high level, as well.

"We know it will be tough this week. Calgary is a good defence. We have to go out and beat what they throw at us."

Calvillo's resurgence is the main reason for the Als' start, but it isn't the only one.

New coach Marc Trestman has brought a positive attitude to the Alouettes and designed an offensive system around Calvillo's strengths.

After Week 2, the Alouettes lead the league with 991 yards of offence.

"The reason he is playing well is the good system we have and he's being coached like never before," said longtime receiver Ben Cahoon. "It's an offence he's thriving in because of the system."

Calvillo is popular around the league, and even his current opponents are happy to see him back.

But former Alouettes defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones just hopes his game cools off this week because Jones is playing against Calvillo in his position with the Stamps.

"He's had so much adversity in his life over the past year. It's good to see his wife do so well now and that his family is doing well," said defensive co-ordinator Jones, who was in Montreal for six years. "He's doing as well right now as I've ever seen him play."

On the other side, Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris is a dedicated family man and couldn't imagine playing through what the Calvillos had to deal with last year.

"Through it all, this is still a game," Burris said. "After what they've been through, it shows you that life is more important and family comes first.

"To see him in good spirits and the way he's playing, it makes you feel good to know he's back. When you get out there to play a game, you still want to win."

Calvillo doesn't want to get too excited with two victories.

"Right now, we're dealing with success because we're winning, but it's a long year and you will have to deal with adversity as well," Calvillo said. "Marc keeps stressing that. How will we handle success? Will we go out and relax? Or will we go out and play at the same level?

"He's always on top of things like that. He doesn't let things fall by the wayside."


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