Belli ups the ante in war of words

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:40 PM ET

TORONTO - Playoffs? War of words? Damn right.

“You know that saying about putting lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig?” Argonauts defensive tackle Adriano Belli asked aloud on Friday.

“Well, you can put eyeblack on a Diamond, but it’s still a Ferri.”

Ouch. That would be a reference to Montreal Alouettes linebacker Diamond Ferri, who earlier this week called Argos quarterback Cleo Lemon “shark bait.”

The Argonauts and Alouettes meet on Sunday afternoon in Montreal at Olympic Stadium in the East final, with the winner going on to the Grey Cup a week later in Edmonton. There has been trash talk from both sides, and for Belli, it’s par for the course.

“Bad blood?” Belli said. “S———, yeah. There is always bad blood in the playoffs.”

And there has been plenty between Belli and the Alouettes, with whom he won the Grey Cup in 2002. Just over a year ago, before the Argos’ last regular season game, which happened to be at the Rogers Centre against the Als, Belli went into the Montreal locker room to confront centre Bryan Chiu, who Belli figured was sending tape to CFL headquarters.

“There was no goal,” Belli said. “I was frustrated. We all work in this league together and I believe certain things should be policed on the field. I went in there to give a piece of my mind, not to start a fight or anything.”

Belli may have flipped a table, but didn’t get physical with the Alouettes. Still, he was suspended by the league for the first game of this past regular season.

On the field, getting physical is all Belli wants to do. He has gained a reputation as a dirty player in his 10 years as a defensive tackle in the CFL, and the Toronto native is fine with that.

But the 6-foot-4, 295-pound 33-year-old said there should be an asterisk. All those times he has talked about killing the quarterback? He doesn’t really mean it.

“You guys see the way I play, I am certainly an a——hole. I want to punish the quarterback so he does not feel like coming into the game, but I am not the type of guy who wants to injure somebody.

“There are different ways of defining dirty. I am dirty because I like to get in guys’ heads and hopefully knock them out for the game. But I certainly never want to injure somebody so they can’t play after we are done with them.”

And then, with a little smile: “Except for Anthony Calvillo. That SOB is mine.”


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