O'Shea focused on the present, not end of career

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The candles on Mike O'Shea's 38th birthday cake will be snuffed in a fortnight, but the CFL's longest-serving current player has no plans to put the match to his CFL career.

O'Shea's playing time was cut last week, and even though Willie Pile and Michael Fletcher will not play against the Montreal Alouettes this afternoon, there is no guarantee O'Shea will be given a chance to get back in the thick of things.

Are the signs starting to become more concrete for O'Shea that this could be his last season?

"I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on the fact it could be my last year," the 6-foot-3, 228-pound linebacker said. "In fact, sometimes it is shocking when people ask me questions along those lines. My last game, I don't know when that will be."

"It does not cross my mind during the season. What does is who is going to be blocking me next week, who I have to tackle. It's what I'm doing today."

O'Shea broke in with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1993 and was named the rookie of the year. Since, his durability has been remarkable in a physically violent sport where one wrong play can end a career. The North Bay native has missed just one game since 1996, when he attended camp with the NFL's Detroit Lions and resumed his CFL days with the Argos that September.

But the game is catching up to O'Shea, whose agility is not what it has been in the past. And that's certainly not a knock on O'Shea, as little stands in the way of getting older.

O'Shea has played in 196 games in the double blue and if he appears in the each of the Argos' nine remaining games in 2008, will tie Danny Nykoluk for second in the team's history. Don Moen played in a team-record 222 games for Toronto.

The decrease in playing time for O'Shea did not sit well with the veteran, but he did not chirp about it. It's hard to say what will transpire today. When asked about O'Shea yesterday, Argos head coach Rich Stubler brusquely said "Everybody is concerned about Mike, but I am concerned about winning."

Whatever transpires, figure that O'Shea will handle it with the class that has been a hallmark of his long career.

"I am not comfortable with my play right now," O'Shea said. "I can play better. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. I'm working as hard as I can."


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