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MISSISSAUGA — Thursday’s pre-season finale in Winnipeg will be the final opportunity for many players to show why they belong in Double Blue. For LB Anthony Cannon it will be his first and, potentially, only chance.
“This is about as important as it gets for Anthony,” were the words of GM & Head Coach Jim Barker when asked about the importance of Cannon making an impact on Thursday. “[Cannon] is in a great battle. How he grasps what we do on special teams and defence is extremely critical.”
Cannon, a seventh round (247th overall) selection by the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 2006, sat out of football in 2010 but was invited to the Argos’ off-season mini-camp in Florida. The experience he gained at that three-day camp put his mind at ease when Argonauts QBs & Rookies Camp kicked off in Mississauga on June 1.
“It was officially my first taste of all of the motions, the wider field and all of the other subtle adjustments you have to make in order to be successful in this game,” said Cannon. “After that camp, I understood what it took to play this game. When I got here for rookie camp all I had to do was play football.”
Helping him in his transition was a high school friend who happens to wear #28 for the Double Blue.
“Byron Parker worked with me a lot and helped me feel comfortable before I headed up here. I have a whole new respect for this league now that I have learned from a player the calibre of Byron.”
Cannon was a four-year player at Tulane and gained pro experience as a three-year member of the Detroit Lions. He admits that Argos training camp has been an eye-opening experience.
“There are some top-notch football players in the CFL,” said the 26 year-old Pensacola, Florida native. “The compete level at this training camp is like nothing I have ever experienced.”
It is that high level of intensity, which has become synonymous with this year’s training camp, that Cannon feels will help separate him from the pack when the lights come on.
“Because the competitiveness is so high, every time you get a rep you are playing against the best player at his respective position. Once the game starts, I feel that the tempo from practice will help me stay one step ahead.”
The current roster includes 73 players vying for 46 spots. The team is required to submit its final 46-man roster at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 24. Cannon’s fuse has been lit and he’s taking aim at this Thursday night’s game in Winnipeg as his best chance to secure one of those spots.