Argos will be fresh

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

Bread may get stale, but players don't.

Argos head coach Pinball Clemons indicated that when asked yesterday if resting players for the regular-season finale this Saturday will make them stale going into the playoffs 15 days later.

"The whole idea of getting stale is probably the antithesis of what our desire is," Clemons said. "The idea is that they'll get fresh again. When bread sits on the table it gets stale; when players get rest they get fresh."

The Argos will decide later this week which players will start against Ottawa and how much action they'll see. Quarterback Damon Allen, who has had a tender ankle from a game in August, played three quarters in the Argos' 34-11 blowout over Hamilton last week.

"I always believe if I don't play this week then it's three weeks for me before I'm actually playing football again," he said. "But it all depends on (the team). What's more important, the health of a player or trying to keep his rhythm? When it's all said and done, the health part will always override trying to keep the rhythm of a player or a team."

Last year Clemons sat out and/or limited the playing time of several starters in the regular-season finale after clinching the playoffs the game before, and the Argos lost at home 58-20 to Montreal.

Clemons did that because his team had been physically beat up from a gruelling schedule and had to play the Eastern semi-final five days later.

The Argos are nicked up after playing four games in 17 days in October. Defensive back Kenny Wheaton has a wonky ankle, while defensive end Eric England has a bum shoulder and an ankle.

"If the coaches come to me and say, 'Hey, Wheaton, you're not going to (play) this week,' I wouldn't argue it. I wouldn't be upset," he said. "If that's what's best for the team, giving me a rest and looking at someone else and seeing what they can do, that's what I have to do."

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BRIEFLY

Jeff Johnson, who stepped up as the starting running back in the last game, was named the league's offensive player of the week ... After starring last year for Grand Rapids of the Arena League, Argos backup quarterback Michael Bishop has been signed as a free agent by the Chicago Rush ... The Ontario Court of Appeal will continue hearing today the appeal by former CFL commissioner Michael Lysko, who is suing the league, teams and various individuals for $5.2 million.


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