Barker gets a traditional Belli welcome

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:14 PM ET

He was the Argos’ new head coach for about 15 minutes when Jim Barker got a re-introduction to the arch-enemy of subtlety.

That would be defensive stalwart Adriano Belli, who crashed the news conference with a bouquet of flowers for Barker and planted one of his patented kisses on Barker’s cheek.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Belli said as he hugged Barker.

In 2002, Belli was with the Montreal Alouettes and Barker was the clubs offensive co-ordinator when they won the Grey Cup.

“He has been here before and he has done it before,” Belli said of Barker’s vast CFL experience.

“He’s an American, but you consider him a Canadian because he has been up here for so long.

“You can’t teach time and knowledge. Bart (Andrus) came up here, and it’s hard to understand our league and our rules unless you have been here for a long time. I think Jim has the ability to hit the ground running. He knows the league.”

Belli wasn’t the only integral Argos veteran who was relieved to see a head coach finally in place.

Receiver Andre Talbot, who has recovered fully from an ankle/foot injury that caused him to miss the majority of the 2009 season, put his support behind Barker.

Like Belli, Talbot said the fact that Barker has an extensive CFL background was paramount.

“I’m glad a decision has been made,” Talbot said. “It’s good for the players because the past couple of months have been frustrating.

“Time will tell with everything. Coaches are generally your born leaders, and (Barker) has done it and has passion. I like his attitude. The big part now is how he formulates his staff. I’m sure he has quite a few contacts.”

The fact the sale of the Argos is in the books also gave Talbot hope for the future.

“It has been hard to watch what has unfolded in the organization,” Talbot said. “Today is a step in the right direction.”

To the shock of no one, Belli had a quip when asked if he was bothered that one man, David Braley, would own two CFL teams.

“No,” the Toronto native said. “I plan on owning three or four some day.”


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