Argo pivot mirrors Stamp QB

Toronto Argonauts' QB Cleo Lemon at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on June 30, 2010. (JIM WELLS/QMI...

Toronto Argonauts' QB Cleo Lemon at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on June 30, 2010. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:54 PM ET

He’s quick on his feet, poised in the pocket and has a rocket right arm.

No wonder the critics have been comparing Toronto Argonauts gunslinger Cleo Lemon to Henry Burris, his counterpart in Calgary.

“I don’t want to keep comparing him to Hank, but when he puts the No. 1 on his back, that sets it off a little bit,” said slotback Jeremaine Copeland, a former Stamps star now earning his paycheques with the Argos.

“Cleo is agile. He has great footwork and he can run, and that automatically compares him to Henry. In this league, you will have defensive ends who are fast. You have to make guys miss to keep from having sacks ...

“That’s what Henry does, and that’s what Cleo has in him.”

The Argos figure they might have found the next Burris. Fans will get a chance to decide for themselves when the Stamps host the Argos in the season-opener at McMahon Stadium (8 p.m., TSN, QR77.

Even with eight NFL seasons under his belt, the 30-year-old Lemon knows his first assignment is a doozy.

“Henry is an elite quarterback in this league, and to see where I am development-wise and to see how far I’ve come, it will be good to see a guy who’s done it at a high level,” he said. “Hopefully, I can match him throw for throw and run for run.”

That’s what the Boatmen are banking on.

With a fresh face behind centre and rookies at several other key positions, the so-called experts aren’t exactly expecting the Argonauts to set the world on fire.

That doesn’t faze Lemon, who survived a woeful season with the almost-winless Miami Dolphins in 2007. In fact, Lemon willed the Fish to their first (and only) victory in the second-to-last outing of the year, tossing a touchdown pass to receiver Greg Camarillo in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens.

Question is, did he bring any of that magic north to his new football home?

His new teammates are certainly excited about his skill-set. And, just as important, Lemon is building a reputation as an all-around good guy.

“He’s a high character guy. He’s a guy that left an NFL job to take care of an ailing mother, so I think that tells you about the kind of person he is,” said Argos sideline boss Jim Barker. “Now, he’s gotta go out and perform and do the things he has to do. But in terms of quality of person and leadership, he’s everything you hope for.”

Just like Hank.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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