Accolades Pile up for Argo

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

Greg Mohns showed a lot of patience in luring Willie Pile to the CFL.

Pile is now showing the same patience as he works his way into a spot on the veteran Argos defence.

He's also making the Argos assistant GM and director of player personnel's wait worth it.

The 27-year-old Virginia State product will make his third consecutive start Saturday for the Argos at linebacker.

Despite two years in the NFL with Kansas City and Dallas and a third with Amsterdam in NFL Europe, Pile is a CFL rookie and had to learn the Argos system.

He lived up to Mohns' original expectations, ones he set four years ago when he first saw Pile and put him on the Argos negotiation list, with a strong training camp that earned him a spot on the roster.

When he didn't start in Week 1 of the season, Pile used the time productively watching veterans like Orlondo Steinauer and Chuck Winters and seeing how the entire defence was communicating with one another on every play.

Winters was unable to play the next two weeks and Pile stepped right in.

Winters is healthy again but an injury to Kenny Wheaton will keep him in the starting lineup with Winters moving into Wheaton's halfback spot.

One of Pile's strengths is his versatility, a must to be a member of the Argos defence.

While his starts have come at linebacker, he's equally capable of playing halfback or safety should the need arise. He feels no more comfortable in one position over another.

"Wherever I'm on the field, that's where I'm most comfortable," Pile said. "In this defence it doesn't matter because it's designed so that you have to know all the positions. You play in this defence understanding that at any moment you can be playing halfback or SAM linebacker or safety. We're all very interchangeable."

Growing up in the U.S., Pile's goal was always the NFL. After a successful year with Kansas City and then a move to Dallas, Mohns was no longer convinced he'd have a shot at Pile. He wound up taking him off the negotiation list only to have a rival CFL team add him to its list. Fortunately for the Argos, that club came to the same conclusion Mohns did soon afterward and took him off their list. Eventually Mohns put him back on the Argos list and the move paid off.

Pile did not play football in 2006 taking the year off to spend with his new bride, Keia.

"It was a blessing," he said of the year off. "I was able to spend that time with her and get to know her. With the pressure of playing professional football, you often neglect other parts of your life."

Mohns was negotiating with quarterback Mike McMahon's agent this past off-season who also happens to represent Pile. Pile's name came up and Mohns made Pile an offer. It was an easy decision for the player.

"It came down to should I go to a situation where I'm forcing myself to get into a camp or go to a situation where they view me as an asset, as somebody who can come in and contribute to a winning team," Pile said.

Mohns believes the situation has worked out well for both parties.

"I think a lot of guys get tired of being journeymen in the NFL," he said. "They come up here and find out it isn't a bad life, it's good football and they can make a decent salary. Hopefully he'll be with us for a long time."

STARS GALORE

Three Argos were recognized in the CFL's weekly honour roll. Steinauer was named top defensive player following his three picks and three tackles in the Argos' 48-15 win over Calgary. Linebacker Kevin Eiben earned Canadian player of the week for his two fumble recoveries, interception and four defensive tackles. Michael Fletcher, a third member of the Argos defence, took home special teams player of the week honours for a blocked punt that led to an Argos touchdown.


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