Argos can "become a family"

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:44 PM ET

Kevin Eiben and Jonathan Brown are part of a rare breed at Argonauts training camp.

They're a couple of hold-overs from a veteran group that began to get broken up last year and saw more departures in the off-season.

Losing 14 of 18 regular-season games can do that to a team.

It's no shock, then, that Eiben and Brown spent part of medicals yesterday introducing themselves to new teammates, a ritual that hasn't exactly been needed in Argoland recently. A year ago, everyone knew each other.

"I think we can become a family once again," said Eiben, who has been with the team since 2001. "It's never easy when you have a coaching change midway through the season. And a lot of guys I played with for five or six years -- Mike O'Shea, Chad Folk, Chris Hardy, Michael Fletcher, Jude St. John -- it's tough to see them gone.

"But it's a rebuilding year and I am excited to see what the new coach (Bart Andrus) brings."

For Brown, who has been wearing double blue since 2004, the idea that he is one of the few remaining veterans to carry the torch sits fine.

"Every team runs its course," the defensive end said. "Changes had to be done. I'm ready to lead with these guys. Bringing in new blood is what we needed. When you take a guy like O'Shea out, it's more important for me to be more of a leader."

'NO B.S.'

Brown will have a bit of an advantage today when vets walk on to the gridiron for the first time at camp. He's one of a handful of Argos who played for Andrus with Amsterdam of NFL Europa.

"No B.S.," Brown said for those who aren't sure what to expect from Andrus. "He expects you to be a pro when you step on the field. This is a guy who has been in the NFL and has been a head coach, so he knows what he is doing."

Though Brown and Andrus have a history together, Brown knows he will have to prove himself, even after a season that saw him land on the CFL East all-star team.

"I haven't tapped out on my ability," Brown said. "(Andrus) might see some things that other coaches might not. I really think he will give us a new energy."

No one knows better than the men who have lined up against Zeke Moreno, Rob Murphy and Dominic Picard -- the Argos' three big-name winter acquisitions -- what the new players will bring.

As such, Eiben thinks the Argos have made enough improvements to return to the playoffs.

"We'll be in the playoffs, for sure," said Eiben, a linebacker who will play alongside Moreno. "Moreno has proven to be a hell of a force and I'm looking forward to colliding into people with him."

Meanwhile, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats cut receivers Aaron Fairooz and Brandon Myles, defensive backs Virgil Gray and Jacob Patek, defensive end Garrett McIntyre and defensive lineman Elton Patterson, and announced quarterback Chase Clement has retired.

The first cuts at Argos camp are expected today.

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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