August 8, 2019

O’Leary: Argos easing Collaros through the paces

First thing’s first for Zach Collaros. The Toronto Argonauts’ newest quarterback might need a new number.

On Thursday, he took part in his first practice with his new team, after the Saskatchewan Roughriders dealt him to the Argos last week.

He set foot on the practice field in an orange quarterbacks jersey, which, after five years away from Toronto, looked strange enough in itself. Then, there was the white No. 1 on the jersey.

Argos kicker Ronnie Pfeffer wears No. 17, the one Collaros wore in his first go-round with the team in 2012 and 2013. He wore the same number in Saskatchewan. In his four seasons in Hamilton, he wore No. 4. That’s currently held in Toronto by the starting QB, McLeod Bethel-Thompson. You can’t blame him if he doesn’t want to give anything up to Collaros.

As rain pelted BMO Field on Thursday afternoon, Collaros told reporters that if he can’t have No. 17, he likes No. 7 or No. 12. So take note, Robert Woodson and Nelkas Kwemo. If you’re open to bribery, the newest member of your team might be looking for a jersey change.


It has been a hectic week and a bit for Zach Collaros in the aftermath of a trade that sent him from Saskatchewan to Toronto.  Back where he started his career in Double Blue, Collaros chats with host DJ Bennett in the latest edition of The Waggle presented by Sport Clips.  Stream the interview below at the 30:00 mark.

Truthfully, jersey numbers won’t appear to matter much for Collaros in the coming days or weeks. His first day with his new team hasn’t changed his status, after a head shot in the season-opener put him on the six-game injured list. Collaros didn’t wear a helmet in his first practice with the Argos. He threw the ball around with some of his fellow quarterbacks and did a few footwork drills. Other than that, he was a spectator to the team’s first session coming out of a bye week.

“For me, it’s just taking it a day at a time,” Collaros said.

“I’ve said it a bunch of times, but just take it a day at a time, trying to get through days without symptoms, get through workouts without symptoms and those kinds of things and staying positive about it and (eventually being) ready to go.”

Argos head coach Corey Chamblin is much like everyone else in this situation. He’s waiting to see what happens next with Collaros.

“I know he’s still going through his evaluations,” the coach said.

“He’s not cleared to play, or anything like that. I think that’s going to be an ongoing process. I don’t think that there’s going to be a miracle evaluation overnight where things change.”

Collaros has been putting in work off of the field to help him assimilate to a new offence when the time comes that he is cleared to play. He spent parts of the bye week with Chamblin and Argos offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine, learning the language of a new offence.


» O’Leary: Argos not putting time frame on Collaros debut
» Zach is Back: Argos acquire Collaros in trade with Riders
» O’Leary: Collaros back to where it all began with Argonauts 
» Collaros gets fresh start in familiar spot


“Football is a lot of the same concepts but there are a lot of different languages and his is a pretty different language than what I’m used to,” Collaros said.

“So that’s exciting, learning that. And when something clicks and a light bulb goes off… he’s been great. And it’s just cool to learn a different view of this game.”

With Collaros’ status up in the air and him still in the early stages of grasping the offence, it’s a safe bet that Bethel-Thompson will get another start for the Argos and try to take them to a second-consecutive win when they host Edmonton next Friday. James Franklin, the team’s original starting QB this season, fully participated in Thursday’s practice but Chamblin said he was still in the early stages of his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Running back James Wilder Jr. was absent from Thursday’s practice. Chamblin said that he missed his flight from Florida, but that he’d be back with the team.