Avery to earn his pay

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

TORONTO -- The Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders are mirror images of one another.

OK, maybe not in the standings.

But both clubs rely heavily on their defence and have spent the majority of the season avoiding the running game like the plague.

Toronto's aversion to the run is strange considering the team signed free-agent rusher John Avery to a lucrative four-year deal in the off-season.

Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons said he would like to get Avery 20 touches tonight -- 15 on running plays and five on receptions out of the backfield.

That sounds good to Avery, who has totalled less than 10 carries on six occasions this season.

"If you don't get those carries, then you (media) guys always start throwing the questions out. 'Is he that good? What's going on? Is he a bum?' " said Avery, who rushed for 1,448 yards in 2002 as a member of the Edmonton Eskimos.

"I let the game come to me. I never get too frustrated because I know eventually (Argos fans) will learn more about me and they will see what kind of player I am."

Avery showed flashes of his past brilliance last week with a 128-yard performance in Edmonton.

"I don't really look at it as a breakout," Avery said of his second 100-yard game of the season.

"We actually ran the ball. Most of the games we've played, we only ran six or eight times.

"As a running back, you get stronger as the game goes on. The more times you see the ball, the easier it is to see which defensive players are playing up and who's sitting back watching."


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