Chad Lucas is a prime example of what a positive, winning attitude around a club can mean.
Lucas, the Argos leading receiver a season ago despite playing just 14 games, has not been able crack the starting lineup this season.
Through three games he had not even dressed, let alone played.
Youngsters Jeffery Webb and Brandon Rideau jumped ahead of him when he was briefly hurt during training camp and he’s been playing behind them ever since.
He briefly considered packing up and going home.
“Yeah. I’m human, but the atmosphere coach (Jim Barker) created around here was so positive that a lot of guys have been in my ear,” Lucas said.
“We’re creating a team here and that’s what is most important. It crossed my mind, but I don’t think I ever would have done it.”
Had this happened last year, Lucas might well be elsewhere by now.
Instead when Webb went down with a groin injury during the final portion of Wednesday’s practice, Lucas wasn’t just here ready to assume that spot, he’s been working his butt off in the interim to be ready when the opportunity did arise.
‘Highs and lows’
“I’ve had my highs and lows with it, but coach has been so positive around here that has helped me keep going and practising,” Lucas said. “I’m just excited.”
Barker refuses to take any credit for it, preferring to give Lucas the credit for accepting the fact that he had to compete and actually doing it.
“If you are honest with players, they respect that,” Barker said.
“That’s all I did. I told him once he was healthy, he would compete and he has done that.
“Now he gets his opportunity so make the most of it.”
The Argos receiving corps is the one area still considered a weakness, but Barker said that is part and parcel of working in new players.
“They’ve dropped some balls obviously but I’ve been in the league and watched a lot of great players drop balls,” Barker said. “You have to allow a guy to go through the growing pains they go through in this league so we were allowing that to happen.”
Talking to Lucas yesterday, you get the impression that now that he has a starting spot, he’s going to make it very difficult for anyone to take it back.