Argos' Rideau bigger, tougher

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:57 PM ET

TORONTO - Look around Argos training camp and the weight loss is staggering.

Kevin Huntley, Cory Boyd, Rob Murphy and Chris Van Zeyl to name just a few have all slimmed down. Huntley almost looks skinny if 293 pounds can be considered svelte.

Then there’s import receiver Brandon Rideau.

Rideau’s off-season task was to bulk up and show up at camp heavier.

A long off-season spent at Rice University working with former Kansas teammate Lyonel Anderson who is now a strength and conditioning coach got the desired results.

“It’s very hard to gain weight,” the second year Argos receiver said. “It’s been 28 years and I’ve been trying to get to 215 for a long time now.”

Rideau was one of the feel-good stories of training camp last year. Unfortunately for him and the Argos that good feeling didn’t last the entire season.

“It wasn’t perfect last season,” Rideau said Wednesday. “It started off pretty good and then it kind of fell off a little bit. It got to the point where I had to make a decision on whether I wanted to be able to make a difference or not.”

Head coach Jim Barker told Rideau two things in his year-end interview. He wanted him to come back a little heavier to better withstand the rigours of an 18-game season and he wanted him to use the god-given assets he has to become the kind of football player Barker believes he can be.

“I don’t think he was ready to play an 18-game season last year and I told him that,” Barker said. “He has a lot of tools but he needs to also make plays. When the ball is thrown to him, he’s 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, he has to go up and make plays and that’s what he didn’t do last year. Brandon always knows where to go and always runs the right route, but with him it’s making plays.”

Barker is convinced the extra bulk will help him remain strong throughout the season.

“That will help him in week 15,” Barker said. “He will be stronger and be able to handle an 18-game season. You remember last season, he started out great and then he levelled off, went down a bit, got rested and then we brought him back a bit at the end and he played better. It’s about being able to handle an 18-game season.”

Rather than make excuses for what didn’t happen last season, Rideau said he’d rather show people what he can do this season.

“When a receiver stops making the plays that he is supposed to make, then he has to start looking at himself and decide ‘Hey, you still got it. Now you have to go ahead an show it.’,” Rideau said.

Brampton speeder cut

Steven Turner was convinced he had put his ruptured Achilles tendon injury behind him.

A 10-month rehab for the former Bishops speedster was followed by encouraging signs at a free agent camp in Florida in April and then more encouraging signs through rookie camp.

But two days into the Argos main training camp the Achilles began to show signs of strain. Wednesday morning the Brampton native was among six Argos who were released as the team got down to 68 players.

Turner didn’t count against the 68 but the uncertainty about his Achilles sealed his fate.

“Steven re-aggravated his rupture,” Argos head coach and GM Jim Barker said. “It scared him. I don’t think it’s gone (fully re-ruptured) but he just felt like he needs more rehab.

“It gets to a point where you feel like it’s going to go again and you’re scared and you can’t play that way,”

Barker said Turner is considering going back to Bishops for another season if he can successfully rehab the latest setback.

Also released Wednesday were import defensive tackle Matthias Askew, import offensive tackle Cory Brandon, import cornerback Durrell Oliver, import wide receiver Drameagon Powers, and non-import offensive lineman Michael Warner.

Placed on the suspended list were import defensive tackle Nate Robinson and import defensive tackle Claude Wroten.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos