Chad Lucas didn’t bite his tongue, but he wasn’t spitting bullets either.
The Argonauts’ leading receiver in 2009 has been a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season and there is no guarantee he will play in the home opener on Wednesday night.
But Lucas, who started in all 14 games he played in a year ago and collected 950 yards, wasn’t calling for the head of coach Jim Barker on Monday.
“After playing here last year, and having a great time, of course I am eager to play,” Lucas said. “It’s tough, because I am human, but my time is going to come. Whatever they need me to do, I am going to do.”
A couple of nagging injuries put a drag on Lucas during training camp, but he has been good to go since camp broke. The
6-foot-1, 201-pounder dropped a few balls last season, but his quickness helped set him apart.
To hear Barker tell it, he probably wouldn’t be too upset if Lucas opened up in the media.
“I don’t want him to take it well,” Barker said. “I want him to be wanting to play. And he is. He is out there competing, and that is what you have to have to be successful.
“We have to have guys who are ready to go. That keeps the pressure on the guys who are playing and on him to continue to improve.”
For now, rookie imports Brandon Rideau and Jeffery Webb have muscled their way past Lucas on to the active roster. Webb is tied for the team lead with Jeremaine Copeland for receptions after two games with seven, while Rideau’s average of 24.3 yards on three catches is a team-high.
Still, one could argue that Lucas’ experience should be enough for him to play. It’s hard to think that he would have been out of place if he had started ahead of Rideau or Webb in the first two weeks.
Lucas has been around a bit, spending time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, and led NFL Europa in touchdown receptions four years ago. But unlike some veterans, who might have struck out for home when it became clear they were not in the initial plans, Lucas has no intention of turning his back on the Double Blue.
“No,” Lucas said. “I watched the game last week (a win in Winnipeg on Friday night) and cheered the team on. I went to training camp with these guys, so I’m going to cheer for them, just like I would expect them to do if I was playing.”
Lucas has had some reps with the starters but Webb was back with them by the end of practice Monday.
“He has a shot (of playing against the Calgary Stampeders on Wednesday),” Barker said. “We have not sat down and talked about the final roster yet, but he is competing.”