Linebacker still bitter over playoff loss

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

When members of the Toronto media most recently had contact with Mike O'Shea, the Argos linebacker harrumphed past those who waited for him following the team's elimination from the CFL playoffs last November, as he was in no mood to talk.

More than six months after that loss to the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division final, O'Shea, the Argos' defensive leader said the bitterness of Toronto's fall has not disappeared completely.

"I can't say I remember all of the details of the game or anything like that, but I certainly remember feeling pretty (crappy) for a long time," O'Shea said at the University of Toronto's Erindale campus in Mississauga, where the Argos are well into training camp. "To do that well during the season and fizzle out like that was not very appetizing. It left a bad taste for the rest of the off-season."

O'Shea had an on-field run-in with teammate Arland Bruce during that game and addressed that yesterday.

"It was over right after the game, no worries," O'Shea said. "You play a long time and you see a lot of stuff. It slides."

After his long winter of discontent, the 36-year-old O'Shea squarely is focused on the 2007 season, which will be his 11th with the Argos and 15th in the CFL. O'Shea has his fingers in a number of pies -- he is a member of ACTRA, has his pilot's licence, co-owns a restaurant and is a father of three. But the North Bay native is as committed to his CFL career as he has been in the past. O'Shea has two Grey Cup rings and is confident the Argos can win a championship this year. That the Grey Cup game is in Toronto is irrelevant.

"It should not make you play any harder," O'Shea said. "You should be playing hard all the time, and you should not have the ability to give more because it is a Grey Cup year in Toronto.

"If you have more, then you have not been doing your job in previous years."

O'Shea genuinely is confident in the Argos' shot at winning the Cup at home. He is enthused by the addition to the coaching staff of offensive coordinator Steve Buratto and by the signing of defensive tackle Adriano Belli.

"What really gets me excited is seeing the offence do so well," O'Shea said. "It is under new leadership and there are some fresh ideas. I certainly believe we are going to win the Grey Cup and coming to camp, it has been re-affirmed to me."

RECEIVER ADDED

The Argos yesterday acquired wide receiver Patrick Johnson from the Eskimos for a second-round pick in the 2008 draft that they earlier had acquired from Edmonton.


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