Orlondo remains sunny

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Orlondo Steinauer will take a Grey Cup championship over an all-star vote.

The Argos veteran defender is considered one of the premier, if not the best, safeties in the Canadian Football League as evidenced by the voting in the past few years.

He was voted the top safety in the league the last two years and East Division all-star the last three years.

Since he joined the CFL in 1996, he has either been a division- or all-league all-star five times, either as a cornerback, defensive halfback or safety.

His string of consecutive all-star awards as safety came to an end this year when the voters selected Montreal's Richard Karikari, who had an impressive nine interceptions including one for a touchdown, in his first full season after playing as a backup in his initial two seasons in the CFL.

Steinauer had three picks.

Karikari picked off a pass early in last weekend's East Division semi-final against Saskatchewan when Roughriders quarterback Marcus Crandell threw a deep ball into double coverage.

Karikari and Steinauer will suit up for their respective teams this Sunday in the East Division final at the Rogers Centre.

"He had an awesome year, there's no debating that," Steinauer said yesterday. "He made plays back there. We play two totally different styles of defence. The younger me, yeah, I would have probably been bothered (by not being selected).

"I've been asked about this a bunch of times since the all-star selection came out if it bothers me, and it doesn't and I can say that with a straight face and look people dead in the eye because I have a bigger goal and that's to win the Grey Cup.

GREAT YEAR

"If I was younger it probably would have bothered me, no doubt, but I know my capabilities. There's plenty of good safeties in this year, but (Karikari) had a great year, so credit to him. That's the way I look at it."

Steinauer, who is 32, picked off eight passes in his third year in the league while playing defensive halfback at the ripe age of 25. He tried to be delicate when asked if the reason Karikari had so many interceptions this year is because he was untested at the position going into the season and opposing teams purposely tried to attack him.

"All I'm going to say about that is everybody plays different schemes in this league," he said.

"For their defence, he probably did what was expected. When you're allowed to roam and just play free, then you're going to make a lot of plays. To his credit, he made them.

"Just because you're put into a position doesn't make anybody can do it. I'm not taking any credit away, I'm just saying all of us safeties that are considered top-notch may play in different schemes."


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