Argos' Bradwell hopes to catch a break
By BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency
|Argos receiver/special teams player Mike Bradwell is back at practice following a hamstring injury. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - This was supposed to be Mike Bradwell’s year to prove he belonged in the CFL.
Instead, he found himself in the trainer’s room, on the injured list and on the sidelines.
But after five weeks sidelined with a hamstring, the Argos’ receiver was back practising the past two days.
“I feel ready. I got lots of reps in practice and it feels good,” said Bradwell, who has been pencilled in as a starter the past two springs only to have coach Jim Barker reach for the eraser.
He hung in and dressed for every game in 2009 and 2010 because of his superb special teams play, but his contributions as a wide receiver were modest.
“He earned a lot of respect last year because of how he played on special teams. To find a wide receiver who can play on special teams is not an easy thing,” head coach Jim Barker said Wednesday. “He’s a smart guy. He’s always going to be in the right place. Quarterbacks like throwing to him.”
And, then comes the but ...
“He’s not a guy who’s a starter right now. He was last year and didn’t perform and this year he was injured and lost it. It’s the nature of pro football that when you get hurt it’s not good for you,” Barker said.
In the past week, the Argonauts signed two other Canadian wide receivers to the practice roster. O’Neil Wilson is a Toronto native and Josh Bishop was an OUA all-star out of Laurier.
Bradwell had 350 yards on 25 catches his rookie season and in 2010 just 10 catches for 108 yards. His value is as a Canadian and as a solid special teams player, but he is being pushed and this, he knows, is a watershed moment.
“You always feel pressure to get back in the lineup. As a professional they’re always pushing you. You’re getting paid to play and when you’re injured you’re not playing. They signed some Canadians and I understand that. It’s a business but I’m still here.”
Playing the wide side of the field, he wasn’t often targetted last season. “There are offences they stick you out there and forget about you a bit. This year we’ve changed it up a bit ... everyone’s involved this year.”
At least, he will be if he can stay healthy and if he can produce.
“I saw him as a starting receiver coming into the year. I wouldn’t have him here if I didn’t think he could become a starter once he gets himself healthy,” Barker said.
And, then, there again is that ... but: “There’s going to come a time,” Barker said, “when he’s asked to start and his performance will dictate how much further play he’ll get.”