There were crocodile tears running down the face of Argonauts coach Michael Clemons yesterday upon hearing that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are experiencing a rash of injuries that could very well affect the outcome of tomorrow's match at the Rogers Centre.
With first place in the Canadian Football League East Division on the line, Clemons will accept any advantage coming his way, but he warned that old tale of the wounded lion being the most dangerous beast in the jungle could hold true in the case of the Bombers.
According to reports out of Winnipeg yesterday, the Bombers will start tomorrow's game without 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive tackle Doug Brown, without their No. 1 kicker Rob Pikula and their top cornerback in Juran Bolden.
Also questionable are all-star running back Charles Roberts, outside linebacker Ike Charlton and defensive back Davin Bush.
"This is a team that has the most efficient quarterback (Kevin Glenn) in the league and a front seven that may be the best in the league -- well still the best six even without Brown," Clemons said. "And what about those three receivers (Milt Stegall, Derrick Armstrong and Terrence Edwards) who will all have over 1,000 yards this season."
Argos quarterback Michael Bishop agrees with his coach that the Blue Bombers bring a complete arsenal to the game, even if all of the injured players stay on the sidelines
"We know Winnipeg is a good football team," he said. "They are not just going to come out there and let us have our way with them because of a few injuries."
Bishop said that he feels the key to winning the game and sole possession of first place in the East is keeping the ball out of the hands of the Winnipeg offence.
"In the end it's going to come down to the team that doesn't turn the ball over," he said.
And Argos fifth-year linebacker, Michael Fletcher, said he won't believe the story about injuries -- especially to Roberts -- until he sees who is on the field when the game starts.
"I am preparing as if (Roberts) is going to play," he said. "Their offence is different from any other team in the league with Roberts. He's different. What he does may look simple but they way he does it is spectacular.
"Trying to tackle him is like trying to tackle water."
But Fletcher said the team's defence is going to be ready no matter who Winnipeg has on offence, especially since the game is at home.
"You always want to play at home for a big game, especially on defence because you can get the crowd into it," he said. "We've had that all-for-one and one-for-all mentality for the past five years. It just keeps getting stronger and stronger. This year we really feel that this is our time."
Meanwhile, Clemons was being somewhat coy himself on the status of running back Robert Edwards, who hasn't practised with the team all week because of a leg injury, but is still on the active roster.
"We'll see (today) at 4 p.m.," Clemons said of Edwards. "He'll either be playing or he'll be on the injury list."
The Argonauts announced the signing of former Hec Crighton award winning running back Kojo Aidoo to the practice roster.
A four-year CFL veteran, Aidoo has played 59 regular-season games with the Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.