Argos feel new cornerback a catch

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

For a guy who spends some of his free time hooking into dolphins and grouper in the Florida Keys, creating havoc for opposing receivers is not a huge undertaking.

The Argos defence, which has ruled the roost in the CFL for a while, had just one major addition in the form of cornerback Willie Middlebrooks.

The rich don't need to get richer, but they often do anyway, and Middlebrooks yesterday was named the CFL's defensive player of the week based on his fine performance in Week 1 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

It was the first CFL game for the 29-year-old Middlebrooks, a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2001 who also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers. Middlebrooks had a game-high nine tackles and an interception.

BIG FIELD

"As a cornerback in the NFL, you play a lot of routes and plan against a team based on where they line up," Middlebrooks said.

"Here, the field is a lot wider and a lot of times you have to give yourself a brief reminder to slide in a little more, play on the outside more. It's faster and there is more passing, but it's still football."

A month ago, Middlebrooks simply was trying to land a backup spot in the secondary, but instead beat Khalil Carter out of a starter's job at cornerback, which led to Carter's release.

"When you get a CFL rookie, you hope you don't notice him much, hope nothing bad is going on," said linebacker Mike O'Shea, who was named Canadian player of the week.

"Willie went totally the other way. You noticed him a lot. And when we watched game film, it was even more (obvious).

BIG PLAYS

"It was great to see him make the plays he did."

Not all former NFL players who try to make it in the CFL can cut it. But one factor helps set apart those who do. What impressed the Argos' defensive veterans about Middlebrooks, who they didn't know from Adam, was his desire.

"They have to be open-minded," O'Shea said. "The guys who make an easy transition are willing to learn. When a guy wants to take advice, its easy to work with him. And Willie is a good guy too."

As for his fishing exploits, Middlebrooks has no trouble putting them on hold until next winter.

"I fish a lot -- 50-pound dolphin, grouper, some sharks," Middlebrooks said. "You have to know what you want to catch. It's the same thing in football. You know what you have to find and how to catch it."


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