July 17, 2012
Is Prefontaine's career over?
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
Noel Prefontaine acknowledged on Tuesday that he might have played his final Canadian Football League game.
But later, in a lengthy scrum with reporters at the Argonauts’ training facility in Mississauga, the 38-year-old punter/kicker caught himself.
“As an Argonaut, you don’t want to end your career in Hamilton, right?” Prefontaine said, referring to the Argos’ loss against the Tiger-Cats on Saturday. “So I think that will give me an extra push. But I’m getting older and it’s pretty evident.”
It was a nagging hip injury, one that was revealed to have a four-centimetre labral tear in an MRI this past March, that pushed Prefontaine to the sideline. Prefontaine suffered the original injury a couple of seasons ago and played through it, but three games of inconsistency in 2012 told him it was time to have surgery, which should happen soon.
The recovery process is expected to take up to six months, so Prefontaine knows he might have booted his last field goal in a storied CFL career that began back in 1998.
“I could have very well played my last game,” Prefontaine said. “That is not the attitude I am carrying with me. I have one glimmer of hope and it’s getting it fixed and seeing what happens after that. Anyone who has ever been through any surgery knows it is not a guarantee. I am not going to feel like a new person when I come out of this thing. But the bottom line is the injury is going to be fixed and then I will just take it from there.”
Prefontaine said it got to the point where every field goal he attempted felt different, and for someone whose job is based on regularity and consistency, it was an ominous sign.
Of his 15 field-goal attempts, Prefontaine missed five.
“Mechanically, it’s a bad place to be,” Prefontaine, an eight-time division all-star, said. “It is not going to promote any kind of consistency, and going through the first three games and evaluating what I have done, I can honestly say it has been pretty inconsistent. And this team can not afford to have inconsistency at that position.
“When you kick a field goal, you are supposed to be over the top of the ball and be able to drive it. So your leg swing normally would come down. You automatically assume you have to swing up to get the ball in the air, but that is not the case. You swing down on the ball. I can’t swing down on the ball right now. The clips I have seen of me kicking field goals, my leg is coming up at impact, which is the worse thing I could possibly do. The reason why it is coming up, I am compensating because of my hip.”
Prefontaine will stay with the Argos during his recovery process, mentoring Swayze Waters and Anthony Alix.
SEEING RED OVER THE RED ZONE
There is more to life than percentages, but there is one that sort of bothers Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich.
Through three games, the Argos have had possession in the red zone 14 times, but have punched through for a touchdown on just five occasions for a 36% success rate.
Milanovich wants to see that success get to at least 50% and preferably stay there, if not improve.
“We would like to score more touchdowns, and what I have been saying to the guys is you can’t get caught up in it,” Milanovich said.
“There are trends that go on all season, where you will get hot and score seven in a row, and then get sluggish. The thing they have to keep understanding is that when you move the ball between the 20s as well as we have, as long as you don’t turn it over — and even if you do stall — you keep collecting points, you keep making field goals. And by the end of the day you have 30-some points and you are going to win a lot of games.”