Byron Parker enjoyed every catch and yard Arland Bruce III produced, revelled in a moment that ranks among the best in the long history of the CFL.
Parker used to practise against Bruce on the gridiron as Argos teammates and the two avid basketball players often went one-on-one on the hardwood.
“It was like watching Kobe go off for 81 points,’’ Parker said following Monday’s practice. “What Arland did was truly special. These moments are rare and when you watch them happen, it’s fun to see.”
Bruce tied a CFL record for hauling in 16 receptions for Hamilton in last Saturday’s loss in Regina. The ex-Argos slotback had 272 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns.
To put that in perspective, the Argos’ leading receiver, Brandon Rideau, has 226 yards this season.
“If Arland isn’t the best receiver in our league, he’s top two, top three,’’ Parker said. “Some teams don’t put up those numbers in a game.
“A receiver might need four games to do what Arland did that one night. He’s a playmaker and he’s special.”
When it comes to battling on the basketball court, Parker likes to claim bragging rights.
“I beat Arland 10 times out of 10,’’ he said. “He can’t beat me.”
Given their athleticism, each meeting on the gridiron always has the potential for big plays.
Parker will line up against Bruce and the Ticats on Labour Day, but this week’s task is Edmonton and ex-Argos receiver Andre Talbot.
Talbot became a symbol of perseverance and excellence during his time in Toronto until a move to the Eskimos in the off-season.
Whether it was opposing Bruce, Talbot, Tony Miles, Robert Baker, Parker believes the more competitive a practice, the better the preparation for game kickoff.
“I give a lot of credit to Andre Talbot because he worked so hard and he was one of the best guys to practise against,’’ Parker added. “When you go up against guys like Andre, Arland, and then the game comes along, everything seems to slow down.”
Parker returns to Edmonton after spending a brief time as an Eskimo following last season’s trade from Toronto. He never met GM Danny Maciocia, who was fired over the weekend, but Parker became fond of head coach Richie Hall.
“One of the best coaches I’ve had in my professional career,’’ added Parker. “Overall, I enjoyed my experience in Edmonton.”