A higher cause in T.O.

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

The Argos' long-snapping situation was getting so bad in camp that head coach Rich Stubler was looking to the heavens for help.

Well, he certainly got it late last week when he convinced Randy Srochenski, who walked away from the CFL in January after 13 seasons, to return to the Argos.

A pastor at the Niagara Celebration Church in St. Catharines when not bent over the football, Srochenski answered Stubler's prayers.

The 35-year-old Srochenski, who was with the Argos the past six seasons, arrived at camp yesterday much to the relief of Stubler and kicker/punter Mike Vanderjagt.

"It's good to be back," Srochenski said. "(Stubler) and I had a good talk in January, so it was not totally out of the works. I knew that if they needed me, I was available."

Stubler realized quickly that the Argos needed Srochenski. Yves Hercule and Sean Ortiz had been getting reps as the long-snappers, but with the ball either sailing over the head of the intended target or not getting there fast enough, Stubler briefly resorted to using Mike O'Shea at the position.

"The ball went back really well (yesterday), it made me feel good, and it made my heart beat okay," Stubler said after watching Srochenski get his initial workouts. "It's one of the hardest skills there is. My dad always told me growing up that you should learn to snap, because if you could, you would play until you were 100. The guy who long snaps the football has to get it 15 yards in .7 seconds. You can snap it and run off the field. You don't even have to make a tackle."

Srochenski will mentor the likes of Hercule, who acknowledged snapping was more difficult than he had envisioned.

"When I tried to be accurate on every snap, it was pretty hard," Hercule said. "It's an art."

Having Srochenski in uniform will give Vanderjagt, who has not punted in 10 years, peace of mind. The veteran is trying to get a renewed handle on punting and he does not need to worry about scrambling after the football.

'IT'S REASSURING'

"Everyone says I have my saviour," Vanderjagt said. "He is the guy who is going to give it to you right on your hip. It's going to be reassuring to know that the last thing you have to worry about is how the snap comes back."

Srochenski won't be with the Argos on a daily basis, but will drop by whenever he or Vanderjagt figures work is required.

"There were two things in life I wanted to do -- be in the ministry and play football," Srochenski said. "Being a minister sounds more grandiose than it is, because I'm really just serving people. And I serve my teammates too."


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