July 23, 2012
Argos sign giant who has never played football
By IAN SHANTZ, QMI Agency
TORONTO - There are projects, and there are special projects.
Considering that Akeel Lendor has not played football before yet somehow wound up on the Argonauts practice squad, let’s safely put him in the latter category.
Lendor, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago, has officially joined the Argos after gaining his non-import status with the team.
Lendor was on the field on Monday, going through defensive line drills with Cory Stone and Chris Jones.
“It’s not like he’s going to be playing in the next week or so,” said Argos GM Jim Barker, who was persuaded through one of his contacts on the islands to take a look at Lendor.
His 6-foot-8, 335-pound frame sparked enough interest.
“We saw film on him lifting weights. He’s never played football before, but he’s very athletic. He did 33 reps on the bench,” Barker said. “It’s just hard to find those guys. If you can get a non-import like that, it’s a bonus.”
The GM, whose only other experience dealing with a first-time football player on a pro team came a decade ago, is realistic about Lendor’s likelihood to crack the starting lineup.
“There are a zillion question marks,” Barker said. “The worst-case scenario is it costs us a plane ticket from Trinidad.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s nothing we’re overly excited about at this point,” he added. “We just told him to take in as much as you can and learn, and we’ll see how it goes.”
The Argos also announced the addition of non-import defensive lineman Walter Spencer, an eight-year veteran who has played for Saskatchewan, Calgary and, most recently, Montreal.
The team has released linebacker Chris Smith and import running back Gerald Riggs has been deleted from the practice roster.
ARGOS EYES ON OLYMPICS
Several Argos players will be hooked on what’s going on across the pond in the coming days.
And with good reason.
Defensive end Ricky Foley has built a reputation for his aggressive play on the gridiron, but the late bloomer who didn’t play organized football until 2003 was a track and field star in his previous sporting life.
He’ll be keeping close tabs on the London Games.
“The 100-metre and 200-metre, to me, it’s the most exciting thing to watch. It’s more exciting to watch than a CFL game we’re not involved in,” said Foley, who set a record in shot put at Paul Dwyer high school in Oshawa and went on to compete nationally in decathlon.
“I was pretty close to pursuing it (instead of football), said the former York University student, who continues to train with several Olympic-bound athletes, including good friend Justyn Warner.
Rookie Ahmad Carroll shares his teammate’s passion, having established a state record in high school in Atlanta and excelled as a two-sport athlete at the University of Arkansas.
“The Olympics is the biggest thing,” Carroll said. “Anybody who has the opportunity to go, it’s a big achievement.
“It’s big time. I can’t wait to watch.”
Slotback Chad Rempel can be excused if he’s more interested in the Winter Games.
The Saskatoon native won a national championship as part of Lyndon Rush’s four-man bobsleigh crew.