August 21, 2019

Hogan: From Cut to Captain

As the officiating crew stood at mid-field before the Toronto Argonauts game against Edmonton, few took notice of the three players in Double Blue trotting out to join them.

The trio of Argos was heading out to participate in the coin flip, among them a player that would have a hard time imagining he’d be one of the team captains on this day.

You see, Sean Harrington was cut by the Argos on June 9th.

For any pro football team, cutdown day is among the toughest of the year. Invariably one or two players get caught in a numbers game, and for Harrington, when the final roster was announced he was one of the odd men out.

“It was a frustrating time, part of the business though,” reflected the native of Commerce Charter Township, Michigan, a suburb located just north-west of Detroit. “I went back home, re-centered my focus, and put things into perspective and realized why I play football. I love the game, I want to keep playing.”

He’d get his chance just under a month later when the Argos asked him to come back. He jumped at the opportunity.

“I’ve taken a different approach,” confessed the Michigan State product. “I’ve learned to appreciate all the small things we have here and realize that the little things matter. You put in that extra work, whether it’s in the weight room, film room, or just talking to the coaches and getting on the same page and having one voice, that’s something Coach Chamblin always talks about, everyone moving in one direction.”

A linebacker by trade, Harrington has been used exclusively as a special teams player in his CFL career, now in its second year after the Argos selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 CFL Draft. That means he works most closely with Special Teams Coordinator Cory McDiarmid.

“He’s a big body who can run,” McDiarmid said of the 6’4”, 230-pound player. “He’s a high-effort guy, he’s a leader. If players are not performing up to the standard we want to set, he’ll call guys out, which I like because he just wants to get better. He’s a guy who will step up and take ownership of (special) teams.”

Harrington has plenty to be happy about these days, although when he smiles one notices that half of one of his front teeth has been broken off at a 45-degree angle. He was hit in the mouth in the Edmonton game and he felt the tooth loosen. It then broke off while he was chewing gum a couple of days later.

There was ample reason for him to grin when Head Coach Corey Chamblin announced Harrington would be a captain for the game.

“That meant a ton to me,” said Harrington, who has National status because his mother Natalie was born in Sarnia. “My family was here for the game, so for them to be able to see me out there, that was a great moment for me.”

McDiarmid says Harrington’s outstanding play in the win over Winnipeg, along with his obvious intangibles and leadership ability, were the reasons why he was named a captain for the Edmonton game.

“He had a heck of a game,” McDiarmid told “He made some big plays for us. He was in the right spots and he was being a leader. When Coach Chamblin asked me who the special teams captain should be this week, between myself and Coach (Special Teams Assistant Coach Dave) Jackson, we were on the same page. It was a no brainer.”

No. 99 will be back on the field in Moncton on Sunday, filling the often-violent role of a special teams player. Despite the intensity of the job, Harrington has used the tough beginning of the season to put his pro football experience into perspective and it taught him one important thing.

“Learning to appreciate the moment,” he said. “These aren’t forever. These moments we’re going to remember forever, memories for life. Sometimes it’s hard to put it all into perspective when you’re in it, but when it’s taken away from you, you get to realize how much you have to appreciate these times.”

If Harrington continues to excel on the field, the team’s appreciation will continue to be reciprocated.