Winning only yardstick for Argos' Owens
By IAN SHANTZ, QMI Agency
|Chad Owens is chasing Pinball Clemons' all-purpose yards record but he'd rather have a win against Saskatchewan on Saturday. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Chad Owens is closing in on history, but he’s more concerned about making sure his Argos don’t become history.
The Flyin’ Hawaiian is well aware that, with two games left in the regular season, he needs 284 yards to overtake former Argo Mike (Pinball) Clemons’ pro football record for most combined yards in a single regular season (3,840).
Owens enters Saturday’s game in Saskatchewan with 3,557 all-purpose yards, giving the kick returner/receiver a legitimate shot at establishing a new benchmark.
But while he admits it’s a record he’d love to own, Owens say he isn’t dwelling on it.
“I talk to my family about it and they want me to get it, and you can’t shy away from that fact,” he said. “But it's not something I’m aiming for.
“I’m aiming to win this ball game and to get us into the playoffs, to lock it up.”
It would be one more milestone for Owens, who is already the first pro football player to record 3,000 combined yards in back-to-back seasons (he has done so three straight seasons.)
“If I’m fortunate enough to get it, hey, that’s awesome. I’d be humbled and honoured,” the third-year Argo said. “But we’ve got to go out and win.”
While Owens has become Toronto’s go-to guy when it comes to the making the big-game play — his over-the-shoulder catch on Labour Day in Hamilton has to rank among the year’s best — his statistics took a nosedive while quarterback Ricky Ray was forced to the sidelines with an injury.
He has struggled at times to hang on to the ball, and has yet to return a punt for a touchdown this season.
But a few hiccups along the way are only natural, Owens says, and he’s confident he has even more to give down the stretch.
“I had three weeks where I went into a little bit of a slump, but three weeks out of 18, I’ll take that,” he said. “But, yeah, you always feel like you could have done more.
“You’re always going to strive to surpass the limits. You can never limit yourself.”
MISSION: ICE SHEETS
The Argos will try to blanket Kory Sheets on Saturday, and if they can manage to do so it could go a long away in pulling the rug out from under the Roughriders.
Sheets, a rookie Rider, has flourished since signing with the green and white in the off-season. His 1,157 yards on the ground puts him just behind the league's rushing leader, Canadian Jon Cornish, who has 1,302 yards with the Stampeders. Only three players, including B.C.’s Andrew Harris, have eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing this season.
“I think (we’ll) put plenty of emphasis on their run game,” Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said.
In the previous meeting between the teams on Thanksgiving Day in Toronto, Sheets led the scoring with 113 yards in a 31-10 romp.
Of course, the Riders’ run isn’t the only threat. Weston Dressler leads the league with 1,189 receiving yards.