A new attitude in Argoland

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Adam Rita wants the Argonauts to be more tenacious in 2009.

You can bet Rob Murphy will bring that kind of attitude to the football field.

After Murphy and fellow free-agent signee Dominic Picard were introduced to members of the media yesterday, they posed with Rita, the Argos' general manager, for pictures. The photographers wanted to see some teeth.

"I don't smile," Murphy said, only half-joking.

But there's no doubt Murphy likes to crush people. Twice named the Canadian Football League's most outstanding lineman with the B.C. Lions, Murphy will add punch to an Argos offensive line that was more pablum than predatory last season.

"I'm Irish, so I have that hot temper," the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Murphy said. "It's one of those things where I get on the field and the switch turns on. I am going to go out and try to dominate you and beat you into submission. That's how I play in every game."

Murphy, born in Buffalo and raised in Cincinnati, let it slip that his favourite sport is hockey, and he's a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The father of triplets, who were born last summer, was a giant defenceman through high school, breaking a state record in Ohio for penalty minutes when he was in Grade 11. He wanted to be a pro hockey player, but that changed when his football career at Ohio State started.

"My body just kept on growing," Murphy said. "I had to look at myself in the mirror one day and say, 'Hey, if you want to be a professional athlete, you need to turn the page on the hockey career.' "

The Argos nearly had Murphy, who wanted to be closer to his family in upstate New York, two years ago. Murphy had worked out a trade to Toronto, but, he said, "(Lions GM) Wally (Buono) put the kibosh on it."

PILE DEAL CLOSE

The Argos also have agreed to terms with linebacker Willie Pile, who established himself as a defensive stalwart in his first two years in Double Blue, with an actual signing expected next week.

Running back Jesse Lumsden had interested the Argos, but he hooked up yesterday with the Edmonton Eskimos.

With Picard, a centre, and Murphy on board, it's probable that centre Chad Folk and guard Jude St. John won't be back.

Though the Argos were 4-14 a year ago and missed the playoffs, Rita refused to say the club is rebuilding, preferring to use the term 'reload.' No matter what one calls it, the Argos' offensive line, which allowed 48 sacks, the second most in the CFL in 2008, should be vastly improved.

"It's better to hold a guy back than to kick a guy," Rita said.

"With these guys you don't have to kick them because they will get angry at you. They play like they have a bee under their saddle. We like that."


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