Carpenter 'took it like a pro'

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

For Canadian Football League players the witching hour is upon them.

Cut-down day.

In less than a week, CFL rosters will need to be trimmed for the season and yesterday four Argonauts got the grim news.

Among the departed were running back William Ford, who just arrived in town last week, wide receiver Derek Stanley, lineman Zah Pollari and linebacker James Green. The most surprising cut, though, is defensive back Dwaine Carpenter, a four-year CFL veteran and former San Francisco 49er.

"It wasn't easy, this part of training camp never is, especially (cutting) a guy like Dwaine. He took it like a pro. We hugged," said head coach Jim Barker. "This time of year it doesn't mean if you're cut that you're not coming back ... guys can get hurt. You never know."

It was Barker, as the personnel director with the Stampeders who brought Carpenter to Calgary in 2005.

When Carpenter was released by the Stampeders last month Barker convinced him to come to Toronto.

Carpenter dressed in 50 games recording 119 tackles and won a Grey Cup in Calgary. But he is 33 and the problem is he makes his living in the secondary, one area that the Argos actually have depth of talent.

Willie Pile, Byron Parker, Lin-J Shell and Willie Middlebrooks all line up there, along with another half dozen linebacker/DB types still in camp.

"Dwaine has a lot of football left in him. There were just some guys ahead of him. We just have a really tough competition right now (at defensive back)."

Among the defensive backs still left in camp is Evan McCollough. He's 22.

Undrafted by the NFL, McCollough was signed and then released by the Tampa Bay Bucs last June and other than earning a spot here doesn't appear to have a lot of other options.

"I like Toronto and I've got a family I want to take care of," said McCollough, who has a one-year-old daughter back home in Washington, D.C.

A four-year starter at James Madison University, McCollough comes from a modest football program so he's familiar with being unheralded, and an underdog.

"It's a tough defensive backfield to break into but I feel I've got a shot. At the least, I've believe I've shown the coaches something."

On Saturday, the Argonauts play the Alouettes in the final pre-season game. For McCollough, it will be his last chance to prove he belongs.

Either that, or it's back to Washington, back to Costco where he works in wholesale, back to dreaming instead of living the dream.


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