Mihelic making amends

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Mike Mihelic had a goal after winning his first Grey Cup last November.

Forget about it.

Or, rather, the Argos guard wanted to forget about the role he had in the weeks that led to the Grey Cup title nearly seven months ago.

Acquired from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats prior to the 2004 season for quarterback Marcus Brady -- a pivot some figured would be the eventual successor to Damon Allen -- Mihelic suffered a torn quadriceps in the Argos' second game. The injury resulted in nine weeks on the sideline and, when he returned to the lineup, Mihelic ronly saw action as a blocking tight end for the remainder of the season.

"I was elated we won the Grey Cup, but as satisfied as I was in winning, I was very dissatisfied because I would have preferred to be in that role at right guard than at tight end," Mihelic, who also endured a foot injury last year, said yesterday during a break at training camp.

"I came this year with the mission that I was going to be bigger and better and just compete no matter who was in front of me, that I was going to take that spot (at right guard)."

Mihelic, a Toronto native who is entering his ninth CFL season, didn't stew during the off-season.

The trade of his friend Sandy Annunziata to the Edmonton Eskimos enhanced Mihelic's chances at keeping a job as a starter, but there were other ways he knew he could improve.

Mihelic quit smoking during the winter and already has noticed a positive difference. Though his weight is hovering around 317 pounds, approximately seven pounds heavier than what he has played at in the past, Mihelic, who also made some changes in his workout regimen, is leaner.

"It took me a couple of months, but when I quit, my endurance got better," the 32-year-old said. "I feel lighter and my feet are quicker."

This is not to say Mihelic is about to veer from the way he plays football. He wants to rid himself of the reputation he has had in the past for rough and often undisciplined play, but it doesn't mean he is going to stop coming at you.

"I have been trying to curb that and trying to be a little more studious in my profession," Mihelic said. "But I don't want to become complacent. It's still football.

"Anybody who hits the quarterback late, or throws a cheap shot, we have to let him know the next time you come in, we're going to break your legs. That's the way it should be. I don't feel any remorse for anybody who comes in late that we take care of ... in a clean manner, of course."


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