Fletcher's back to bolster D

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

REGINA -- As the week of practice progressed, Michael Fletcher began to feel more comfortable with each hit and every defensive responsibiltiy.

Fletcher casts an imposing shadow on the Argos defence and it was desperately missed in the team's past four games.

Finally, after playing the waiting game and patiently watching his ailing knee slowly recover, Fletcher will make his long-awaited regular-season debut tonight here against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

ABOUT TIME

Fletcher's timing couldn't have been better at a time when the Argos are reeling from a three-game losing streak and literally hurting with so many injured players.

"I might be a step, maybe a step and a half slow, but once I get feel out there I'll be fine,'' Fletcher said.

The Argos play an unusual brand of defence with Fletcher as one of its key players.

He'll line up inside at linebacker in the team's 3-4 front, but to define Fletcher would be both impossible and foolhardy.

The guy just flat-out makes plays, against the run by crowding the line of scrimmage, by dropping back in pass coverage, by flying around on special teams.

Fletcher is a difference maker who was named the East Division's top defender last year when the veteran played most of the season with a damaged knee.

"I have this caged-animal mentality right now," Fletcher said.

"There's no pain in my knee. Early in practice I felt a little rusty, but as it went on I felt more natural."

Fletcher hurt his left knee in the team's pre-season finale in Hamilton. Rookie Jeff Kelly tried to fill in, but Fletcher is one of those indispensable and indefatigable players every successful team has to have in uniform.

The Argos certainly know it.


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