Defensive lineman Adriano Belli has been known to be (how do we put this politely) offensive.
It’s why he’ll be sitting out the season opener, courtesy of a suspension for what the league termed “a series of infractions.”
Nice to know then, that he’s putting a whole new spin on being offensive. Belli has been practicing with the offensive line the past week.
“If they actually let me play a game there, I want to do them proud,” said Belli.
Then, being the best stand-up comic without a steady gig, he couldn’t help himself.
“I’m having fun. I want to show those piggies that play offensive line that anybody can do this,” he said, grinning slyly. “They’re always coming off the field huffing ... saying how hard it is. I don’t know. They don’t even have to run after the ball?”
If there’s anything Belli likes more than crushing a quarterback it would be yanking someone’s chain. He greets everyone with a kiss, a smile and a laugh. But on the field he can sometimes lose focus and discipline.
That’s what happened last year when Belli walked into the Alouettes dressing room prior to the final regular-season game in a dispute with some of their players. The league suspended him for one game.
“It’s going to be rough for me not being out there. The boys have been getting a petition ready and they’ll be wearing shirts that say: Free Belli.”
Then, he smiled: “Seriously, I’m disappointed but I have to listen to the commissioner.”
As for playing on the offensive line, head coach Jim Barker didn’t entirely dismiss the notion.
“He’s such a great athlete and with his size it gives us the possibility of another Canadian spot if he can be a seventh offensive lineman on the roster. It’s about getting the most out of your roster ... having a defensive lineman that can also play offensive line in an injury situation (is helpful).”