Owens blasts into record books
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
|Argonauts wide receiver and kick returner Chad Owens runs with the ball against the Eskimos at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., Oct. 21, 2011. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - In a season short on wins and noteworthy plays produced on offence, Chad Owens’ pursuit of pigskin history comes as close to anything worth noting.
Almost by default, Owens will cop the team’s most outstanding player award when members of the media will soon be asked to submit their votes, a recognition, while deserved, speaks to how insignificant this Argos season has become.
As a receiver, Owens is average at best, but he is getting better and the Argos have finally figured out that it’s best served to have Owens play at slotback, rather than line up at wideout.
His strength, though, remains on the return game, an area Owens has been able to carve his niche and his unique place in football lore.
It was during the second quarter of Friday night’s visit by the Eskimos that Owens would become the first player in pro football history to put together back-to-back seasons of 3,000 all-purpose yards.
On his seventh touch of the game, Owens broke the 3,000-yard barrier by returning a punt 36 yards that would give the second-year Argo the combined total of 3,031 for the season.
“It’s exciting stuff,” Owens said following Toronto’s 31-24 loss to Edmonton. “What I’ll remember the most are the guys in our locker room because there’s no way I could have accomplished this on my own.”
For the game, Owens produced 255 yards to give 3,136 for the season.
“It’s bitter-sweet because we’re so much better than our record shows,” added Owens of an Argos team that dropped to 4-12.
Michael (Pinball) Clemons produced two seasons of 3,000 all-purpose yards, but not in succession.
The one difference between Owens and Clemons is that Pinball was a legitimate playmaker on offence, a status Owens has yet to reach.
Twice during the first half against Edmonton, he allowed the ball to hit the ground following a reception, losing one when he tried to do too much.