He hopes to finish the season leading the league in defensive tackles, but linebacker Kevin Eiben went on the offensive yesterday about a variety of issues.
Eiben leads the league with 107 defensive tackles, only three less than his league-leading total a year ago. He leads Calgary Stampeders linebacker George White by three, and both players play this weekend when their teams close out the regular season -- the Argos tomorrow in Ottawa and Calgary home to Edmonton on Sunday.
"I'm going to go out and play my game, do whatever I can when the play comes to me and if it's enough at the end of the year to get the tackles lead, great; if not our No. 1 goal is the Grey Cup," he said.
Eiben is the Argos' nominee for outstanding Canadian, an award in which he finished runner-up in the league last year to B.C.'s Jason Clermont.
"It's an honour to be named top Canadian for my team," he said. "Hopefully, I get the East (nominee) and hopefully I win it this year ... Sometimes these awards don't make sense."
He singled out receivers with at least 1,000 yards who become nominated for awards. This year that applies to Hamilton's D.J. Flick, who has been voted the Tiger-Cats' representative for top player, and Montreal's Ben Cahoon, who is the Als' representative for the top Canadian.
"I realize the media (which votes on the league awards) look at these 1,000-yard receivers, but they've got to realize these 1,000-yard receivers are averaging maybe 60 yards a game with the 18-game schedule," Eiben said. "Instead of making these 1,000-yard receivers a big deal, make it 1,500, make it 2,000. That's a great year. How many people last year got (at least) 1,000 yards? Fifteen? Think about it. How many this year, maybe another 15 (including three on the Argos)?
"It's not a big step, a lot of people are doing it. Then you look at how many people have got 100 tackles this year, me and George White. That's more of a recognition that you should be looking at.
"If a receiver went out and balled out and got 1,800 yards, that's 100 yards a game. That's a great season, and you should be recognized for that. But 1,000 yards is nothing in this league. Think about it. Ponder it."
Eiben said it does not matter to him whether he is named outstanding Canadian or not because winning the Grey Cup is all that matters to him.
"The awards are individual and that's not how I play," he said. "I'm not an individual. I'm more of a team player. I'm just saying for this year and future awards ceremonies, give it to the right person. I wish more of the fans had an input than just the media. Head coaches could have an input, they see all the games.
"It's not an easy decision, but some of the decisions (for team nominees) are ludicrous, like George White not getting recognized for the great year that he's had. I thought at least he should have gotten defensive player recognition (which went to fellow linebacker John Grace, who won the league award last year). But I've got no control over that."