MONTREAL — Chad Owens has no time for bitterness.
The Argonauts return whiz wouldn’t have been faulted had he told a group of reporters on Wednesday that he wanted to stick it to the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday night at Molson Stadium.
After all, the Alouettes decided Owens was not worth keeping when the diminutive speed demon refused to take a salary cut at the end of training camp, and wound up trading him to the Argos for a fourth-round pick in 2011. But Owens bit his lip.
“I am not disagreeing, and I am not agreeing (on the salary issue),” the 5-foot-8,
180-pound Owens said after the Argos completed their walk-through in the ball room of downtown hotel.
“I have no comment on that. It’s just done. I am focused on playing the game. There are things I can’t control ... I am still doing what I love, and that is the main thing.”
In four games, Owens has proven to be a steal for the Argos. He leads the Canadian Football League with 749 combined yards and has returned a missed field goal and a punt for touchdowns. The 28-year-old Hawaii native has Argos fans pining no more for Dominique Dorsey, given the possibility that Owens will take the football to the end zone every time he fields a punt or a kickoff.
Owens and the play of running back Cory Boyd are two large reasons for the Argos’ surprising start. No one from the outside thought the Argos and Alouettes would be locked in a battle for first place in the East Division in Week 5, but here the Argos are, ready to put their 3-1 record up against the 3-1 record of the defending Grey Cup champions.
Owens revealed that had the Argos not come calling — and this was not the first time Toronto head coach Jim Barker tried to get Owens, who was on Barker’s radar last year when the latter worked in the Calgary Stampeders front office — he probably would not be playing football.
“I would be home right now,” Owens said. “That’s what I told (Montreal) — fine, I will just go home and live my life. But when this opportunity came up, I wanted to see what would happen, and I could not be happier.”
Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman holds no grudge against Owens, even though the man doing the returning for Montreal, Tim Maypray, has not had the same impact.
“We loved having Chad here,” Trestman said. “He was a part of our football team. He was going to be our next player offensively in our receiving corps. He was going to be a returner and Chad wanted to be a starter.
“There were other reasons unrelated to football (leading to Owens’ departure), but at the end of the day, we wanted Chad to be here.
“We are excited for him and his success. He is a hard-working guy and a heck of a football player. He has added a great dimension to Toronto’s football team.”
Owens has overcome a knee injury and a couple of unsuccessful appearances with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and has not played a full season since 2004, his final year at the University of Hawaii.
It’s little wonder he is willing to leave things in the past, but you have to figure he would love to torch the Als on Thursday, no matter what he says publically.
“I want to break (a return) every week,” Owens said. “It’s a tough question. It doesn’t matter if I have a history with a team or not. It would not make it extra special because it is Montreal.”