Mays a good fit for Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

In the pigskin parlance, Jermaine Mays plays on an island.

For the receiver turned cornerback, Mays' indoctrination to three-down football was akin to being on Gilligan's Island.

Mays' ability to adjust on the fly with the Argos is nothing short of, well, aMaysing.

"It's a different game," Mays said yesterday as the Argos continued to prepare for their season opener Saturday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. "The kicking rules are really weird. When I was told you could kick the football and recover it down field, it reminded me of rugby. It's even weirder to see a receiver running down the line of scrimmage. When I saw that, I said to myself, 'You can do that?'"

Mays has experienced what many other imports have been forced to undergo. In many ways, it is a baptism by fire, only in Mays' case he has made the adjustment quite comfortably.

When the Argos line up against the Ticats Saturday for the third week in succession, Mays will be introduced as the team's starting wide-side corner, a spot that had become Adrion Smith's home until the popular veteran called it a career this past off-season.

Mays has earned the job and is approaching the curtain raiser like any other game.

"I'm not the type to get caught up," Mays said. "I take every game seriously."

POTENTIAL ARGO

Assistant general manager/director of player personnel Greg Mohns has been tracking Mays for the past year.

Mays emerged as a potential Argo when scout Doug Graber, who knew Mohns during their time with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, evaluated Mays as the top defensive back playing in NFL Europe.

Graber coached Pro Bowl DBs in Kansas City, where Mohns learned an invaluable lesson when evaluating cover corners.

"You want guys who are six feet or over, have long arms and can run," Mohns said. "Jermaine has good athletic talent and good quickness. He's young and he's not entrenched in a style of play. We felt he'd be a good fit up here and he has proved us right. He's picked things up very quickly."

Mohns and assistant Miles Gorrell met Mays face-to-face for close to two hours this spring.

"Right from the get-go, I felt he would be a strong candidate to win the starting job and that's basically what I told him," Mohns recalled.

Throughout his career, Mays played receiver. Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice encouraged the 6-foot, 180-pound Mays to try the corner position when several DBs got hurt.

"Coach asked me how I felt and I told him I didn't care where I played," Mays said. "All I wanted to do was help the team. Being a receiver has really helped me play DB. It's almost like cheating out there."

INSTANT REPLAY A GO

The CFL will have instant replay this season.

The league's board of governors voted yesterday to approve the introduction of instant replay for the upcoming season, which begins Friday night with two games.

But the Winnipeg Blue Bombers contest at the Montreal Alouettes (TSN, 7:30 p.m. ET) will have the distinction of being the first CFL regular-season game with instant replay.


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