Kicker Medlock back with Argos

BILL LANKHOF, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

At times it is impossible to escape destiny.

Justin Medlock, it seems, was born to wear the Argonauts’ double blue.

The club re-signed their 2009 special team’s player of year yesterday, gassing their experiment with rookie Canadian placekicker Grant Shaw.

“Statistics don’t lie and 65% doesn’t really cut it. I think it was only a matter of time they made a move,” said Shaw, who hit on just 19 of 29 field goal attempts — second worst average in the CFL.

Medlock, meantime, has been both a reluctant Argo and rejected Argo. But neither the team, nor Medlock, seem to flourish without each other.

Medlock arrived in Toronto with Bart Andrus and lost the job out of training camp to Eddie Johnson in 2009. But Johnson injured himself making a tackle in the opening game and Medlock ended up with the second-highest field goal percentage in the CFL, hitting on 40 of 46 attempts.

That earned him another shot in the NFL but he was cut by Washington and then Detroit. The problem was, he couldn’t take his holder in Toronto, Kevin Eiben, with him. A left-footed kicker, he never got comfortable with either club.

“Let’s just say it’s very hard for me as lefty holding wise. It’s funny because we did two field goals today and the first one I was kind of worried and Eiben held and I just went like ‘wow’ and someone said ‘what?’ And, I said, ‘Well, it’s just the hold was amazing.’ It hasn’t been like that for a while because a lot of guys are used to holding for righties. In Washington, I had a guy who held for a righty for 13 or 14 years so it’s not really his fault.”

Meanwhile, Shaw remains with the club as a backup linebacker (he was an all-Canadian on defence in university) and on special teams.

“The coaches felt they needed better results and I understand that. It’s a business and the team needs to win. They made a decision they had to make,” Shaw said. “It’s a disappointment because they put me in a situation to do well and I didn’t do as well as I would like.”

The Argos plan to take him to the U.S. this winter “with a coach to work on my kicking. I haven’t given up on it,” said Shaw, who started kicking only three years ago. “It’s still my goal to be a starting kicker. I’ve proven I have the ability to do that; it’s just learning how to be consistent.”

There is a slim margin between failure and success for a kicker, as Medlock discovered when he won the starting job in Week 1 with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007. He was 1-for-2 that game — and unemployed a week later.

“When I got cut by Kansas City four years ago I missed the opening-drive field goal ... I pride myself on making that first one. If you miss, your teammates start to think, ‘Oh, we’ve got to go 100 yards.

“Anywhere you go as a kicker you have to establish confidence.”

Someday Grant Shaw will establish that.

“We’re not giving up on Shaw. He’s a unique player and he’ll be a good kicker,” head coach Jim Barker said. “But we can’t afford to go down the field and miss a field goal. That’s a deflator.”

Some day will not happen this year.


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