Winters does it all for Argos D

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

It started back at the University of Michigan where a promising running back named Chuck Winters was asked to move to the other side of the ball.

Since then, there hardly has been a defensive position that the Argos special team captain hasn't played.

"I was joking with (teammate Noel Prefontaine) to teach me how to kick," Winters said yesterday after the team's practice at the Oakville Sports Dome. "I want to elongate my career."

Given his inspired play, learning another new trade won't be necessary just yet.

Though Winters rarely has started at the same spot, playing every position on defence except for nose tackle and defensive end,hehas become a force for the Boatmen.

Winters led the Argos with a season-high 10 tackles in Saturday's win over the Edmonton Eskimos, batted down a Ricky Ray pass and was his usual fired-up self.

So what does he have to do to nail down a starter's spot?

"He is a starter -- it's just at a different position every week," Argos coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons said. "On special teams, at linebacker, halfback and if we need him at corner in an emergency, he can go there as well.

"He's a real pro,we wish we had 41 more like him."

The 32-year-old Detroit native went to Michigan as a highly touted running back. But when the Wolverines were deep in ball carriers, coach Lloyd Carr urged the freshman to try his skills at defensive back.

He took to the assignment immediately, leading to a big-time college career with Big Blue.

Now in his fourth year with the Double Blue, Winters is comfortable with his role(s). After missing the first five weeks of the season with an injury, he has filled in wherever Clemons and defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler need him.

"However I get on the field, it doesn't matter to me," Winters said. "They put no extra money in my pocket.

"I see special teams as an opportunity to show what you can do. I look at it as a segue to get on the field (as a starter.)"

Briefly

The Argos will decide later in the week whether Prefontaine will handle any kicking duties during Friday's home contest against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"It's sore," said Prefontaine, who has an ankle and knee injury in his non-kicking (right) leg. "But as long as I can push off, I think I'll be able to go. It will be a game-time decision."

The Argos are considering options, including backup safety Chris Hardy, who has filled in the past two seasons.

Clemons said the team will consider bringing in retired Dan Giancola, who was part of the Argos' 2004 Grey Cup winning team, as an emergency replacement.

Meanwhile, running back John Avery, nursing a foot injury, did not practise yesterday but the veteran is expected to be in the Argos' starting lineup on Friday.


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