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Argonauts blaming Buck for 'soft melon'

THE Toronto Argonauts were not exactly sounding repentant Wednesday, even as linebacker Brandon Isaac received what was described as a significant fine from the CFL for his illegal helmet-to-chin hit on Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce in a 29-10 Argos win over the Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium last Saturday.

"You got a guy like Buck Pierce, who, unfortunately, goes down often," Argos captain Jordan Younger told TSN's Mark Masters prior to the fine being announced. "He has problems, you know, concussion problems, concussion issues, and I don't know. Maybe he has some decisions to make, but either way, all being said, we see it as a clean hit."

Brandon Isaac

Brandon Isaac

Jordan Younger

Jordan Younger

Younger also rejected any suggestion the Argos were targeting Pierce because of his long history of injuries. "I don't know if you're implying that we maybe go out (and) take advantage of a guy who has a soft melon, but, you know, we're taught to play the game hard. Are we aware that he may go down, because he has a history of going down? Yes. We prepare for the second quarterback, because Buck Pierce has that history, but that's just covering all your bases."

The league also levied fines against Bombers offensive linemen Steve Morley and Justin Sorensen for their retaliatory actions against Isaac following the hit. The league also announced they have fined Bombers linebacker Jovon Johnson for comments he's alleged to have made to a reporter after the game that Argos defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones has been deliberately targeting Pierce.

The next meeting between the two teams -- Oct. 19 in Toronto -- should be a doozy.

Pierce returned to the practice field at Canad Inns Stadium on Wednesday, but whether he will be able to play in Montreal against the Alouettes next Monday still remains to be seen.

Pierce and the rest of the Bombers team held a light 45-minute practice Wednesday morning.

Pierce did some light running and worked with the first-team offensive line. However, he hasn't yet been cleared to join his teammates when the club begins full practices again today. Burke said Pierce still has one more final concussion test he must pass before he gets the go-ahead and that test wasn't to take place until later Wednesday.

The Bombers refused to say Wednesday afternoon whether Pierce had finally been tested.

-- -- --

The expected airlift of practice-roster players began on Wednesday with the signing of non-import defensive back Jawann Westerman (5-11, 177, Rutgers).

Westerman, 25, is the middle Westerman sibling, sandwiched between Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jamaal and B.C. Lions defensive lineman Jabar.

Burke said the Bombers will also be adding three more players to the practice roster today: an offensive tackle previously identified as Lee Barbiasz, a recent cut of the Jacksonville Jaguars; and a middle linebacker and a receiver Burke did not identify.

Buck's the man

"He's No. 1 for a reason. He's our best option at quarterback. I really like the development of our young guys (Joey Elliott and Alex Brink), but (Buck Pierce) is the guy right now. So you have to go with the guy who gives you the best chance of winning."

-- Bombers SB Terrence Edwards discussing the prospects of his club with Buck Pierce in the lineup

Calvillo protects himself

"Anthony Calvillo does a really good job of protecting himself when he throws the ball. He makes it a point not to get hit in the head, he avoids those collisions. Some quarterbacks don't avoid those collisions and put it in the hands of the CFL."

-- Argos Jordan Younger with some pointed comments, apparently about Buck Pierce

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2012 0

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