TORONTO - For Ricky Foley, familiarity breeds so much more than contempt.
Try comfort, aggressiveness and a sense of belonging.
The Argos rush end didn’t have the luxury of spending training camp with the Boatmen a year ago, joining the club in September after he couldn’t secure a job in the National Football League.
“It was a good locker room last year, and I felt like I was part of it,” Foley said. “But now, after being here for the whole camp, having gone through the pains and aches and fought through injuries with the guys, I’m a lot more comfortable in the room and on the field, for sure.”
Foley said on the eve of camp he wanted to get his crown back, a reference to tying for the Canadian Football League sack lead in 2009, when he had 12. If he reaches that goal, one reason will be the bond he will have formed with tackle Kevin Huntley, who plays beside him on the defensive line.
Huntley did not do a lot through camp as he recovered from shoulder and knee surgeries, but he has been back in pads at practice this week and he and Foley are getting to know each other’s tendencies. Fans see linemen on each side the football battling, but there is plenty of synchronicity that has to happen for either side to be successful.
“We will make plays regardless, but once we start feeling each other out in real game setting, it’s going to be ... let’s just say we’re excited,” Foley said. “You have to feel a guy out because everybody rushes different. He rushes high, and I have to come under, and vice versa.
“We have to get a feel for each other — we’re not there yet — and it’s like a point guard and a centre in basketball. You can make moves just knowing he is going to be there.”
And then there’s Claude, as in Wroten. As Foley and Huntley get themselves in order, Wroten and Ronald Flemons, the other end, are forming the same kind of bond. Flemons is the dependable veteran, while Wroten appears to have not missed a step despite joining the team for his first practice only nine days ago.
Wroten, signed by the Argos in April, had the well-documented passport problems, causing a delay in his arrival in Toronto.
“He has done everything we hoped he would,” Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker said of Wroten. “He disrupts running games, always pressuring the quarterback, because he is so strong in there.
“He gives us a presence, and now he or Huntley is single-blocked. That tandem inside will be difficult for teams to deal with.”