Fine season may not be done yet

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

It just might be the icing on the cup today for Pinball Clemons.

Clemons is a finalist for the Canadian Football League coach of the year award, which will be announced in Winnipeg. The other finalists are Hamilton's Greg Marshall and B.C.'s Wally Buono. This is the third year Clemons is a finalist, but the first time after winning a Grey Cup following the Argos' 27-19 victory against B.C. last November.

"I really haven't thought about it," Clemons said last night. "Sometimes people get the idea that you're just saying things, but the important one was (winning the Cup) on November 21st. This recognition is really, I think, representative of where we have come as an organization.

"I think we've made some great strides."

The award is expected to be won by either Clemons or Marshall, who in his first year as a professional head coach guided the Tiger-Cats to a playoff appearance with a 9-8-1 regular-season record. The previous year under Ron Lancaster, Hamilton was 1-17.

Normally, a coach who is in his first year and posts a winning record is the sentimental choice to win the award.

But Clemons' Grey Cup win could be the difference, much as it was for Tom Higgins when he guided the Eskimos to the championship title in 2003. Marshall told The Toronto Sun earlier this month that he thought Clemons deserved to win the award because of Clemons' Grey Cup achievement.

"Everybody would acknowledge that it's great players who win football games, but I think it's great leaders that organize those players and those two guys are both phenomenal leaders," Clemons said of Marshall and Buono.

COVINGTON SIGNS

Former University of Miami quarterback Scott Covington, who had National Football League stints in Cincinnati and St. Louis but didn't have significant playing time, has been signed by the Argos.

HOLY SPIT

Any player caught spitting in a game will be disqualified and his team assigned a 25-yard penalty as part of new league rules adopted yesterday.

In addition, a player possessing a hazardous object (i.e. a pen) will be disqualified and his team assessed a 10-yard penalty.

Anyone caught with a non-hazardous object (i.e. Winnipeg's Keith Stokes took a magazine from a goal post last year) will be hit with a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty.


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