Argos' Brandon Isaac claims hit on Blue Bombers' Buck Pierce was clean

Argonauts linebacker Brandon Isaac recovers a fumble against the Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium...

Argonauts linebacker Brandon Isaac recovers a fumble against the Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Man., Sept. 29, 2012. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:36 AM ET

TORONTO - Brandon Isaac isn’t about to change his game, the way he approaches it and how he conducts himself when he steps between the lines.

And nor should he, despite a fine that speaks more to the CFL’s over protective protocol on quarterbacks than anything Isaac did.

Isaac is one who will irritate and agitate, but he seldom, if ever, vacillates.

When Argos defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones calls for a blitz package that features Isaac coming off the edge, the trash-talking, easy-go-lucky Isaac goes full speed, heads to the backfield and will either get to the quarterback or disrupt a quarterback’s rhythm.

During a late July visit to Montreal, it was Isaac who would get to Anthony Calvillo, force a sack and basically force the Als into a long field goal attempt in what would become a three-point Argos win.

On Labour Day, it was Isaac harassing Henry Burris in a fourth-quarter momentum-changing play that featured Ahmad Carroll, Isaac’s roommate, returning one for a pick six.

When he blows an assignment, which precisely unfolded back in Toronto’s home opener when one-time Stamps teammate Nik Lewis scored a major against Isaac in man coverage, Isaac took accountability.

Isaac isn’t a bad guy, he’s a guy no one wants to play against because he’ll get under one’s skin or be aggressive, which, in reality, is the nature of football.

Had Buck Pierce not morphed into this frail quarterback and had Buck Pierce shown a little more sense of self-preservation, which is not his nature, Isaac would not find himself in the middle of a mild controversy.

In a quarterback-driven league, the signal callers will always get the benefit of the doubt.

In an era where having more than one legitimate quarterback on one roster is becoming scarcer by the day, an incumbent such as Pierce goes down and everyone is up in arms, accusing Isaac of being dirty with the intent to injure and questioning his intellectual wherewithal.

The way the CFL has acted in recent years, it had to fine Isaac, but to question this guy’s motives is completely wrong.

Sadly, that’s how Isaac is being portrayed.

No one wants to be associated with Isaac’s ilk unless they play on the same team, walking football’s delicate line that gets blurred with every passing year.

In the NFL, the Tom Brady rule gets enacted when the pretty boy QB is forced to miss a season on opening week when a blow to the knee on a what is generally perceived as a football play knocks out one of the league’s marquee players, if not the marquee name.

Pierce is no Brady, but he means so much to Winnipeg that even Isaac now realizes why the CFL hit the first-year Argos linebacker with a fine.

“I still feel it was a legal hit,’’ began Isaac. “I came up and hit him hard. I kind of get where they (CFL officials) are coming from. It’s a quarterback-driven league. Buck Pierce goes out and now offence is in turmoil, the competition lessens.

“Unfortunately, it happened to me. I go out and play hard, I go out and give the team all I could give it. I’m not a cheap player, I’m not a dirty player. I’m an aggressive player and I play aggressively.”

It’s why if Isaac has a free shot at Darian Durant this Monday, Isaac will deliver a hit he’s delivered from the time he first played football.

“I can’t change my approach,’’ added Isaac. “What I’m going to do is try to go a little lower. I don’t understand how low I could possibly go. If I go too low, it’s below the waist or something like the Tom Brady rule where I take out the ACL or something.

“I’ll try to aim a little lower, I’ll fix myself, but at the same time I’m going to be physical.”

On the Pierce hit, Isaac insists nothing sinister was ever contemplated, a stance the Bombers clearly do not endorse.

“By no means did I try to deliberately hurt him or anything like that. It was a football play. I was taught to tackle with my face mask. I put my face mask through his chest and as I drove him into the ground the helmet slid and it hit him in the chin.”

As a kid, Isaac routinely competed against family members who were five or six years his senior, nurturing a mind set he has taken to the pro level.

“I had an aggressive childhood,’’ said Isaac. “I was playing against older people and I had to be aggressive.

“If I didn’t, there was no way I could beat them. I’m aggressive all the time, that’s who I am, that’s what I bring to the league.

“But I’m not a dirty player and I don’t go out to hurt any player.”

COACH: 'HE'S A GOOD MAN'

Scott Milanovich came to the defence of Brandon Isaac, one of the Argos’ better defenders who’d better get used to being under the officiating microscope.

While Toronto’s rookie head coach would not comment on the fine imposed by the league, he was more than willing to share his opinion on Isaac, who took plenty of hits to his character and brain capacity in the Peg.

“I will comment when people (namely Winnipeg’s interim head coach Tim Burke) question Brandon Isaac’s intelligence and claim he had the intent to injure someone,’’ said Milanovich. “I have to defend him (Isaac) because I know better.

“I’ve spent time with the young man and they don’t know the kind of teammate he is, what kind of man he is. He’s a good man and I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Isaac was notified by an Argos official that the CFL was reviewing his first quarter hit on Buck Pierce.

He was then contacted by the CFL and asked to present his side of the story.

“Unfortunately my side wasn’t good enough,’’ said Isaac.


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