Milt Stegall has been around for so long and done so many wonderful things in the CFL that he has a street named after him in Winnipeg and he has not even finished playing yet.
So it's with their collective guard up that the Argos tonight will face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver, who has not played a down of football in 2008 as he recovered from left knee surgery in early May. Stegall is closing in on the league record for most receiving yards and no one has recorded more than the 144 touchdowns Stegall has piled up in a CFL career that began in 1995.
"I'm just going to find a way to fit in," Stegall, wearing a sharp grey pinstripe suit, said yesterday as he met the media in the lobby of a downtown Toronto hotel. "I don't need to be the focal point. Making blocks, being a decoy, whatever I need to be.
"I have caught enough catches and had enough touchdowns where I don't need to do that any more. As long as it's getting done, I don't care who is doing it."
The Argos aren't buying Stegall's attempt to steer their attention in another direction tonight. The 38-year-old, they figure, remains a legitimate threat, even if he is a senior citizen in athlete years.
"I expect Milt to make the most of it, and I expect our back end to keep him from pulling one of those magical plays out of his hat like he has so many times before," linebacker Mike O'Shea said. "He is going to be fired up."
And Argos head coach Rich Stubler does not see Stegall as someone who is playing out the string and hanging around far longer than he should have.
"He is in a class by himself and I have played against guys who were supposed to be the best," Stubler said. "I love to play against Milt."
Stegall and the rest of the Bombers might be able to take advantage of a group of tired Argos. Stubler is concerned with the short week for the Argos, as they will be on the field five nights after losing in Regina.
"Our players did not have any rest," Stubler said. "That more than anything bothers me, but as for mental preparation, there was plenty (of time)."
As for the inconsistent defensive play, Stubler addressed his players yesterday.
"We talked about a bicycle wheel and spokes, and how some of the spokes were missing," Stubler said. "We need to make sure all the spokes are in the same wheel and that the wheel is round."