Argos' Belli suspended for season opener

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 5:57 PM ET

The Argonauts will have to get by without a big part of their defence for their first game in 2010.

The Canadian Football League announced on Monday that defensive tackle Adriano Belli has been suspended for the regular season opener on July 1 at Calgary against the Stampeders "for a pattern of inappropriate behaviour that culminated with Belli's pre-game confrontation" with members of the Montreal Alouettes on Nov. 7.

That was the Argos' last game of 2009, a season that saw them go 3-15 under Bart Andrus.

Belli entered the Montreal locker room before that game, upset with some members of the Alouettes over some earlier incidents.

"I acknowledge I was wrong in going into the opposing team's locker room," Belli said. "My No. 1 focus is the Argos and winning games. I love the CFL and love playing in the league. I will abide by the rules but it does not change how I play the game."

Belli twice was fined last season for other transgressions. And at one point, he was warned by CFL commissioner Mark Cohon to keep his emotions in check.

The CFL informed Belli and the Argos of the suspension last November, but did not want to announce it then "out of respect for the CFL playoffs and Grey Cup" the league said in a statement.

Belli, whose off-field community work is not surpassed by many of his peers, was the Argos' nominee in 2009 for the Tom Pate Award, given annually by the CFL Players' Association. The award recognizes a player with outstanding sportsmanship and one who has made a contribution to his team as well as to his community.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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