Talented Parker returns

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

Byron Parker is back, but there's no guarantee where the accomplished defensive back will line up in the Argos' defensive secondary.

It has been that kind of a season for the hard-luck Argos, who must now find a way to re-introduce Parker into their scheme without disrupting their defence.

On the surface, it would seem a no-brainer to just line up Parker on one corner spot and let him do what he does best.

Parker is a playmaker on a team that lacks playmakers, a defender who always is around the football and is so athletic that he is capable of turning an interception into a touchdown from any area on the field.

The Argos are coming off another bitter disappointment, a 36-28 loss to the B.C. Lions, who exploited a Toronto secondary that has played well.

The Argos are in the midst of their bye week, but welcomed Parker at yesterday's practice.

By CFL rules, the Argos have five days to decide Parker's fate after he was recently released by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.

The Argos next see action on Aug. 28 when they play host to the Calgary Stampeders.

Head coach Bart Andrus expects to take his time in properly assessing his team and the team's options.

"We think a lot of him,'' Andrus said of Parker. "He's a very good player who has a track record of being around the football.

"It's a delicate decision and we need to be correct in our decision-making."

Yesterday provided Andrus with his first opportunity to watch Parker up close.

Willie Middlebrooks and Jordan Younger have manned the outside corner positions for the Argos.

When the Argos were playing defence with a 3-4 look under Rich Stubler, Parker and Younger were considered the best shutdown corners in the CFL.

The Argos used to be a defensive team that gave up yards, but somehow always found a way to score, sometimes producing more points than their offence. This season, the Argos defence has yet to score a touchdown and has forced 15 turnovers.

In their past three games, the Argos defence has forced five turnovers.

"I'm back to help,'' Parker proclaimed. "I didn't come back to take anyone's glory."

When the Argos wrapped up their team drills, Parker was fielding punts, another area the 2-5 team desperately needs to upgrade.

Parker still projects that fun-loving personality that endeared him to the Argos and fans of the Double Blue.

The only perceived difference is in his body size.

"The Eagles had me on a weight program and I bulked up to 227 pounds,'' Parker said. "It wasn't meant for my body. I'm now down to 210 pounds. I'm feeling good because I'm now lighter on my feet.

"It's good to be back on a field where it all started."


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