Harriott at home with Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:01 PM ET

His job description is of an end, but for Claude Harriott it is really the beginning to what is shaping up as a long run in the CFL.

Amid the carnage that was last season's embarrassment in Argoland emerged Harriott, a presence at defensive end who has both the mental and physical makeup to be a stalwart as the Boatmen re-establish their identity.

After being cut by the NFL's Detroit Lions three weeks into training camp last year, Harriott had an opportunity to travel north and into the unknown territory of three-down football.

At first, there was trepidation, despite the prodding from Harriott's agent.

Three weeks later, Harriott had a change of heart.

When he now reflects on that time, Harriott is glad he made the decision and is grateful for the opportunity afforded by the Argos.

"It really has turned into a blessing for me,'' Harriott said yesterday following an unscheduled indoor walkthrough by the Argos, a move precipitated by the precipitation.

In seven games as an Argo, Harriott had to endure seven losses.

But never did the team lose sight of his skill and potential.

It has often been said that character, or lack thereof, comes through in difficult times.

The more Harriott played, the better he became at defensive end, where he mainly lined up in a three-point stand.

Harriott is 6-foot-4 and at 28 years old is entering the prime of his career. He is smart and very adept at making plays.

In his second game as an Argo, Harriott recorded four tackles, two quarterback sacks and one forced fumble.

A man of faith, Harriott relies on his work ethic and focus when he goes up against opposing offences.

"The first thing that struck me when I came up here was the motion,'' Harriott said. "There were receivers moving around in the backfield and it took a little time to get used to it."

His indoctrination came against the Calgary Stampeders in a home-and-home series.

Little did Harriott know that the Stamps would go on to win the Grey Cup.

"Once you start to play in a game and once you play more often, you realize it's still football,'' Harriott said. "There's the ball. You beat the guy in front of you and you tackle the guy with the ball.

"I had a comfort level that first game. I just didn't know a lot, but ignorance is bliss."

Getting a full CFL training camp under his belt has been very beneficial for Harriott, who continues to grasp more of the league's unique rules.

The one area he continues to develop is mastering the one yard along the line of scrimmage.

For most of his football life, Harriott has lined up nose-to-nose. Like most Americans, Harriott understands the advantage offensive linemen have when they drop back to pass protect.

But he's learning and figuring out ways to counter punch.

"All it does is make me work harder to get to the quarterback,'' Harriott said. "It makes me want to advance my skills."

FRANK.ZICARELLI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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