Argos' Allen is back

It is expected that Argos quarterback Damon Allen will get the start tonight against the...

It is expected that Argos quarterback Damon Allen will get the start tonight against the Tiger-Cats. It will be Allen's first start since cracking his left tibia on Aug. 12. (Toronto Sun/Fred Thornhill)

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

If it's true you don't lose your job through injury, Damon Allen is about to reclaim his starting quarterback job in the biggest game of the season for the Argos.

Heading into tonight's game at the SkyDome between the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the 41-year-old quarterback is expected to start for the first time since cracking his left tibia against the Montreal Alouettes on Aug. 12.

The Argos were in second place, and while backup quarterback Michael Bishop kept them there by recording four wins and a tie in seven starts, it's Allen's time to lead the team again.

"I'm just looking forward to waking up in the morning and playing a little football," Allen said yesterday.

While Argos head coach Pinball Clemons wouldn't name his starter and Allen said he hadn't been told who would take the opening snap, there's too much at stake to risk keeping the veteran on the sideline for even one series. If the Argos win, they clinch second place and win homefield advantage over Hamilton for the Eastern semi-final.

The Argos have a win and a tie in the season series and a commanding 28-point lead over the Ticats.

Allen shook off some rust last week playing two and a half quarters against the Calgary Stampeders. He completed 19 passes, including his first 13, in 23 attempts. He also threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter.

"Playing last week gives me the confidence I can come into this game and really be poised and settle down quite early," Allen said.

Allen started for the Argos in the fourth game of the season against Hamilton at the SkyDome and passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.

Bishop started against Hamilton at Ivor Wynne on Labour Day and ran for two touchdowns, including the pivotal one on the final series, to give the Argos a 30-30 tie.

"The young guy did a great job filling in for Damon getting us into the playoffs and putting us into this position," wideout Andre Rison said. "Let's not get that confused ... Not to take anything away from Bishop, but with a veteran quarterback you know what he has done already. There's a sense of a comfort zone as far as confidence because he was your original starter. He's a walking legend."

Linebacker Michael Fletcher said having the ability to start Allen means a lot to the team.

"This is another challenge in the storied history and the legend of Damon Allen," Fletcher said. "He'll be ready to go. For how much time he took off, I thought he looked pretty sharp, believe it or not. With health improvement and another week of preparation against a team he saw before, I think that helps him out a lot."

Tiger-Cats head coach Greg Marshall is expecting his team will see a full slate of Allen.

"If (Clemons) thinks Damon should be the quarterback to take them into the playoffs, then he needs significant minutes in these next two (regular-season) games," Marshall said. "Even if he does not start I would suspect he would play significant minutes."


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