TORONTO - Even when he is unable to play, Adriano Belli is making a considerable impact.
The Argonauts defensive tackle won’t collect his salary from the Argos as he recovers from a foot injury, and instead will start donating his pay cheques to his Big Kiss Fund, which supports children at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
“They’ve paid me enough over the years and until I can play again, this is the best thing to do,” Belli, who makes just shy of $200,000 a season, told the Toronto Sun. “A few games won’t hurt.”
Belli has not played since July 29, when he injured his foot during a game in Montreal against the Alouettes. Since, he has been able to practise at times, but Argos head coach Jim Barker told reporters on Thursday that the decision has been made by the team to put Belli on the nine-game injured list.
At 33, Belli has been a mainstay in the CFL since becoming a regular with the Alouettes during the 2002 season, and has evolved into one of the league’s most colourful players. Whether it has been making trips to commissioner Mark Cohon’s office for disciplinary reasons, organizing fundraisers for the Big Kiss charity or simply, as Belli likes to say, killing quarterbacks, the Toronto native makes headlines. He has no intention of missing the playoffs.
“The plan is to come back for the playoffs,” Belli said. “I still feel like I am the best defensive tackle in the league but I know I’m not a young pup. I’m not about to make any decision (on his future as a player). I’m going to take the next couple of weeks and stay off the foot and hopefully it gets better. I love the CFL and couldn’t have asked for more out of it.”