Mathis ready to bust out here

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

He can't guarantee as much, but Jerome Mathis hopes he has left his injury woes in his wake, like he has so many opposing football players.

Nearly two weeks into training camp, the Argonauts got a look at the man they hope will replace Dominique Dorsey on special teams.

Mathis has been hampered by a small tear in his hamstring, and though he's not quite back to full health, practised yesterday and plans to play Tuesday night in the pre-season finale in Hamilton versus the Tiger-Cats.

"You get kind of nervous," Mathis, listed as a receiver, said about ticking off the days on the calendar when he was idle. "You see guys making plays, you're sitting around watching these guys having fun, going through the ups and downs and you can't be out there going through it with them. It gets frustrating."

As the Argos welcomed Mathis into uniform, another crucial player was cast to the sideline.

Middle linebacker Zeke Moreno suffered an ankle injury in the morning practice and was hobbling around on crutches before going for medical tests. But head coach Bart Andrus said Moreno's ankle "looked pretty good after he iced it," and that there was not a lot of swelling.

One of the premier defensive players in the Canadian Football League, Moreno led the CFL with 97 tackles last year with Hamilton and Winnipeg. His leadership also is an asset the Argos need dearly. The club had no update on Moreno's status following the afternoon workout.

Mathis wouldn't be in Toronto had he not been injured in 2006 when he was with the Houston Texans of the NFL. A year earlier, Mathis shredded the league and was named to the Pro Bowl, as a rookie no less, thanks to his kick return skills. But a broken foot, further injuries and some legal issues helped derail his NFL career.

Dorsey had a combined 2,892 yards last year and was named the most outstanding special teams player in the CFL. On most nights, he was the only Argo to bring fans out of their seats, and the Washington Redskins took notice, signing him during the winter. But Dorsey will have to impress mightily in the Redskins' exhibition games this summer to stick, so the CFL might not have seen the last of him.

Andrus thinks the potential is there for Mathis to make Argos fans forget Dorsey.

"Who is to say he is not the next Dorsey?" Andrus said. "Who is to say that is not going to happen, not to take anything away from Dorsey.

"It's a relief to finally see (Mathis) on the field. He looked really good."

Can Mathis return to being the same guy who set the NFL on its ear?

"I have been running all my life," the 25-year-old said. "Getting back to that form, some people may think I lost it, some may say I still have it. In my mindset, it's not going away. I've been hit with injuries, but I have always bounced back and have not lost a step."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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