TORONTO - Chad Owens became a spectator for the second of the Argonauts’ back-to-back practices on Wednesday.
The star returner cramped up in the initial practice and head coach and general manager Jim Barker wasn’t going to risk further injury to his most exciting player.
“Rather than have him take a chance on pulling something, I just told him to stay out,” Barker said.
If Owens plays in the Argos’ pre-season game on Saturday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — Barker said it’s “50-50” — Owens will not return the football, but will take some reps on offence.
Offensive linemen Rob Murphy (biceps) and Chris Van Zeyl (ankle) will not play, nor will receiver Mike Bradwell (hamstring).
Defensive tackle Nate Robinson, who suffered a hamstring injury in practice on Tuesday, has been released. With Claude Wroten still experiencing passport problems, players such as Chris Bradwell, Miguel Robede and Alexander Robinson will get a chance to compete for a job versus the Ticats.
It won’t be all rookies in the Argos lineup, however. The Ticats are planning to use first-year players for the most part.
“It does not do any good for Dalton (Bell) and Cleo (Lemon) to not throw to Cope (Jeremaine Copeland) and those guys,” Barker said. “It’s about us getting better. What matters is our football team and we had a glaring weakness on offence last year that needs to be corrected. The only way that it gets corrected is through repetition.”
Hancock battles diabetes
Michael Hancock bucks the odds each time he puts on his football equipment.
The 25-year-old defensive end, competing for a job at Argonauts training camp, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May of 2010.
Then with Hartford of the United Football League, Hancock became ill, suffering from cramps, eyesight problems, weakness and dehydration. The 6-foot-8, 261-pound Florida native was stunned when he received the diagnosis.
“Generally, people with Type 1 get diagnosed at 10, 11, 12 years old,” Hancock said. “I was surprised and I had a lot to learn.”
Hancock usually gives himself five injections of insulin a day. That’s down to a couple a day in camp.
“At first, it was upsetting, but I realized it could have been so much worse,” Hancock said. “I haven’t let it put itself between me and my goal of playing football.”
Hancock is in a tough spot at camp. Alex Buzbee will back up on the ends, and neither Ronald Flemons nor Ricky Foley are going anywhere.
“I’m just fighting to get on this field and help this team win,” Hancock said. “That’s all.”