Ebell: 'Nothing I can do'

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

Tyler Ebell gingerly made his way down a slope toward the main football field at the University of Toronto's Erindale campus yesterday, eager to join his Argos teammates as they entertained their ardent supporters on the club's annual fan day.

But the meet-and-greet served as the extent of Ebell's on-field activities with his teammates in 2008. For the first time since rupturing his left Achilles tendon in practice last Wednesday, Ebell talked to reporters about his season-ending injury.

"I feel like I disappointed a lot of people because (the Argos) made such a big trade for me," Ebell, clad in his No. 24 Argos jersey and blue plaid shorts, said as he leaned on his crutches. "There is nothing I can do except to rehab hard and come back and show them next season what I am worth. I was a good trade and I want to make good on their part."

Ebell was acquired from the Edmonton Eskimos with receiver T.J. Acree in exchange for all-star cornerback Jordan Younger to put some meat into the Argos' running game. But Ebell, who turned 25 on the day of the injury, will be nothing more than sideline filler. He had surgery on Friday afternoon and will be in a cast for up to eight weeks before rehab and recovery takes him into next spring.

Strangely, Ebell did not feel any pain when his tendon popped during practice at St. Marcellinus Secondary School. The Argos had moved to the high school for the day because of poor field conditions at Erindale, but the turf at the high school did not factor in the injury, Ebell said.

"All I did was take a step back and was getting ready to run my play and it popped," Ebell said. "I did not trip, did not catch my cleat. It was something that happened regardless of where I was.

"I have heard from some people who have torn their Achilles tendon that it is excruciating pain, but it didn't hurt. I did not yell and scream. I thought someone threw a football at the back of my leg and I was kind of mad. But after I realized I could not get up it was more serious than I thought."

Whether Ebell can get back to realizing his full potential is anyone's guess. Sprinter Donovan Bailey suffered a similar injury in 1998 and, though he recovered, retired three years later. The injury suffered by Ebell typically happens to athletes after their 30th birthday.

Ebell started 11 games for the Eskimos in 2007, gaining 650 yards on 124 attempts for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. The Argos now plan to put the ball in the hands of Dominique Dorsey, Andre Durie, Jeff Johnson and Jamal Robertson, who was brought in from Saskatchewan when Ebell went down.

Ebell, a native of Ventura, Calif., plans to stay in Toronto during his rehab and gladly will do what he has to do to remain part of the team, whether it's helping to break down film or read defences during games. Nothing will come close to touching the ball, though, and Ebell knows it.

"I worked so hard in the off-season," he said. "I was so excited to be here in Toronto and showcase my skills for a team that wanted me."


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