Mike Bradwell realizes chances like this don’t come every day on the football field.
When the sophomore Argonauts receiver steps on to the gridiron Sunday morning, he and a handful of other Canadian receivers will have a legitimate shot at capturing a full-time spot on the roster.
The Argos’ receiving corps continues to evolve when it comes to non-imports. Matt Lambros was released on Friday, Tyler Scott was let go earlier and Andre Talbot was traded to the Edmonton Eskimos during the off-season. Long story short, there are jobs to be had. Canadian-born receivers did not do much for the Argos last year, but then again, neither did most of the offence.
“You don’t get these opportunities too often,” Bradwell, who had 350 yards and one touchdown on 25 catches in 2009, said as he watched the rookies work out on Friday at Huron Park.
“It’s knocking at the door and I feel well-prepared to answer the call.”
The release of Lambros was a bit of a surprise, in that he had recovered from a knee injury that kept him on the shelf for most of last season.
Argos head coach Jim Barker has known Lambros since the 25-year-old was in high school, and once had him at his football camp in Calgary.
“We just felt there was not going to be a spot in what we are trying to do,” Barker said. “I wanted Matt to be a guy here. It’s ironic that he was the first to be let go. We just felt like there was an overload there.”
Barker wants a speedy and agile group of receivers and Lambros wasn’t quick enough. It probably didn’t help that among the better receivers in the rookie camp was Obed Cetoute, who has not played since the midway point of the 2008 season because of injuries.
In 2007, Cetoute, a Montreal native, was the Argos’ nominee for the outstanding rookie in the Canadian Football League.
Also impressive were 2010 third-round pick Spencer Watt and fourth-rounder Steven Turner, who will be counted on more for his running game. Ditto for import Derek Stanley, who made a number of sweet grabs.
“I’m confident,” Cetoute said. “They are paying me to be productive and make plays.”
Cetoute has not played in a CFL game since Aug. 15, 2008, when he suffered an ankle injury against the Montreal Alouettes. An Achilles injury wiped out his entire 2009 season.
“Adversity always makes you a little bit stronger,” Cetoute said. “I know it is a cliche, but whatever does not kill you makes you stronger — and that’s what I use.”