Pilon has a nose for hard work

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

No matter the location or circumstance, Argo Marc Pilon has put his nose to the grindstone.

An essential dimension, after all, when one considers Pilon is a nose tackle.

Whether it was in Calgary, Edmonton, B.C. or Ottawa, Pilon brought his work boots to every practice and to every game, taking on multiple blockers on the line of scrimmage and creating havoc for opposing offensive linemen.

His latest CFL incarnation has Pilon lining up at the nose for the Argos, who lost incumbent Noah Cantor during the off-season when the veteran called it a career.

Like Cantor, Pilon goes about his business without any fanfare, playing a pivotal position in a 3-4 defence that has been opportunistic under cagey co-ordinator Rich Stubler.

"I like to consider myself as someone who is aggressive and tough," Pilon said yesterday as Argos training camp continued at Erindale Campus. "I have a good motor, I'm dependable and reliable. I bring a winning attitude and I plan on winning again this year in Double Blue."

Pilon is entering his eighth year in the CFL and his first as an Argo after the club acquired the 6-foot-5, 285-pounder in the league's dispersal draft.

A native of Ottawa, Pilon decided to sign with the hometown Renegades as a free agent.

"I went home to be home on my own volition," Pilon said. "Then without any control, the team's ownership went kaput and now I'm here in a better place.

"This is where I wanted to be. Maybe all this happened by telekinetics. It's a good situation."

The defensive schemes and terminology are different, but as Pilon readily admits in the basic of football jargon:"The nose is the nose and you have two A gaps."

He'll be aggressive in pursuit of the quarterback, stop the run and take on blockers to free up linebackers.

"Rich's defence is different than any other," Pilon said. "It's aggressive and it's player-oriented. It's a thinking defence and we're not just drones out there."

In his debut, Pilon recorded a quarterback sack, one knockdown and had one tackle for a loss in the Argos' 31-3 pre-season loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"I'm proving myself all over again," Pilon, a former Grey Cup champion, said. "There's good chemistry here and coach (Pinball) Clemons creates a family atmosphere."

There are a handful of familiar faces in Argoland to help in Pilon's adjustment and a mutual respect.

"Any time you get thrust into a new system, it'll take time to pick it up," veteran linebacker Mike O'Shea said. "Marc's a big physical guy. You stand next to him and you say, 'Wow!' He's a professional and he's easy to work with. He's going to work out just fine."

Pilon wears No. 75 in honour of his football idol, Howie Long. In the off-season, Pilon spent time restoring his collection of vintage cars and helping a friend build a log cabin.


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