Argos to dice and slice

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

If you're an Argonaut this morning but not later today, Bart Andrus might not necessarily have seen the last of you.

Rosters are due to the Canadian Football League by 3 p.m. today, and Andrus was planning to work into the late hours last night with his staff to determine who would be cut loose.

But Andrus won't be discarding phone numbers.

"The thing about cuts is they are not final," Andrus said. "Guys re-circulate. If we keep one guy over the other and something happens, the first guys we are going to go to are the ones who know what we are doing. It's not like we're cutting awful players, we're cutting good players. That's what makes it hard, but it is also the reality of pro football."

AREAS OF CONCERN

With 69 players, Andrus has to get down to a roster of 46, not including those who are injured or the handful who will go on the practice roster.

Andrus has a number of areas of concern with the Argos' opener on Canada Day in Hamilton against the Tiger-Cats.

Jerome Mathis suffered a left knee injury, not an ankle injury as originally thought, against the Ticats in Steeltown on Tuesday night, and is out indefinitely. How worried is Andrus about the Argos' return game?

"If someone lets go an experience kick returner in this league, we would look closely at that," Andrus said.

Kenny O'Neal, Dovonte Edwards and Matt Black are among the newcomers who have had a chance to return punts and/or kickoffs but none have made a lasting, positive impression.

No less than 14 men who are paid to catch the football remain, and of them, only Arland Bruce and Andre Talbot are seasoned vets. Reggie McNeal is safe, and Mike Bradwell was strong on Tuesday, as were Hank Edwards and Matt Lambros. James Robinson and Tyler Scott saw a bit of time last season.

Also in the mix are Cleannord Saintil, Kinsmon Lancaster, Brad Smith and Kenny Higgins.

"There are some difficult decisions at that position, but they are good problems to have," Andrus said. "I don't have anything concrete in mind. I'm not settled on it yet."

An indirect but small vote of confidence went in the direction of Eddie Johnson, who has competed with Justin Medlock for the kicking/punting chores.

Johnson had a field-goal attempt blocked against the Tiger-Cats but after watching game video, Andrus said it was not Johnson's fault.

"You can't kick through people," Andrus said. "We had a guy give up the gap and they shot through it. It was just a physical mistake."

Johnson didn't sound like he would be bitter if he was cut loose.

"This is the most fun I have had playing football professionally," Johnson said after the game two nights ago. "I had a great time no matter what happens and the Argonauts have been good to me."

A couple of other Argos -- running back Jeff Johnson (triceps) and tackle Etienne Legare (hand) -- were injured against Hamilton.

The full extent of their injuries were not known, though Legare should not miss any time.


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