Getting a kick for one game

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

It isn't any burning desire to return to competition that has Steve Christie preparing to kick for the Argos this Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

It certainly isn't money or boredom either -- life is good for the 39-year-old Oakville native who splits his time between homes in Niagara on the Lake and Ellicottville, N.Y.

Rather, it is about a chance to be a good Canadian, a flag he always was willing to wave during his 15-year NFL career best known for his nine seasons as a Buffalo Bill.

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"I think there's a bit of a stick on us guys, Canadians who go down to the NFL and stay down there and don't come back," Christie said yesterday.

"Even though this is one game, I can say that as a Canadian I came back home to play in the CFL and that's pretty important I think."

Christie is a rarity in that he was an NFL success without ever playing a down of pro football in his homeland.

But with Argos kicker Noel Prefontaine still shaking off the cobwebs of a concussion sustained in the season opener, that will end against the Tiger-Cats.

Though he looks every bit as fit as he did in his heyday with the Bills, Christie doesn't intend to make the comeback longer than a game or two at the most.

But he does intend to contribute. At practice yesterday he was booting balls through the uprights with ease from 40 yards and in a tryout on Monday hit from 52 yards.

Not bad for a guy who hasn't kicked in a game since 2004 when he was with the New York Giants.

Prefontaine isn't worried about losing his job to Christie, who isn't about to add punting to his resume.

But the veteran Argo has been impressed with Christie's professionalism and the lack of pretense he has brought to the locker room.

"I think it's a big deal for him," said Prefontaine, who hopes to return for next Thursday's home date against the Calgary Stampeders.

"I'm sure he was sitting at home before he got the call thinking he was never going to play football again.

"He has got a good life, why come here and ruin it?"

It's not as if Christie hasn't been up close and personal with some of the CFL's brightest stars over the years.

In the NFL, he played alongside Doug Flutie in both Buffalo and San Diego.

In college at William and Mary, he was a teammate of none other than Argos coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons.

While less weighty than the quarterback conundrum occupying Argos talk these days -- demoted Damon Allen continues to play hide and seek with the media, while new first-string Michael Bishop is champing at the bit for his first start in more than two years -- Christie is a feel-good story.

He'll get a chance to play against a team he admired as a youngster -- Christie recited, on cue, the opening verse of Oskee Wee Wee yesterday -- while trying to win for his new favourite CFL squad.

And just for kicks, with dozens of friends and family in the stands, he'll finish his career as an Argo.


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