May 21, 2023

Hogan: A Perfect Fit

His nickname is “Pick Six”. He wears Number six. He now plays in the 6ix.

What makes Adarius Pickett’s arrival even more perfect is that he really wanted to sign with the Toronto Argonauts.

Pickett was the second player to commit to signing with the Argos during the one-week window preceding free agency and the first to return a signed contract, roughly 10 minutes after the free-agency period opened.

“Six in the 6ix, man there ain’t nothing better than that,” Pickett told Argonauts.ca following Saturday’s practice. “I had taken the time to evaluate everything and I felt that this was a good place to call home.”

Pickett is coming off a sensational season, where he was named Montreal’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. He tied for the team lead in tackles, adding four sacks, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown.

To say the Argos were interested in the prospects of signing Pickett would be an understatement. He, along with defensive end Flo Orimolade, were the top two targets of the off-season for Toronto, and both returned signed contracts to the Argos in the first 15 minutes of free agency.

When asked specifically about the acquisition of Pickett, General Manager Michael “Pinball” Clemons said there was a pretty good reason why the Argos were in such hot pursuit of the strongside linebacker.

“We were most interested because of the way he played against us,” said Clemons, flashing his trademark smile when talking about one of his team’s biggest off-season acquisitions. “And it was validated by the way he played against others.”

Clemons and his scouting department were not just impressed by Pickett’s on-field play, they also love what he brings in terms of intangibles.

“I think the first thing that comes through is his spirit, his energy, his ‘want to.’ Further to that, he’s a smart player who makes plays. He graduated from university in three years, then stayed on in his fourth year to study. Guys who aren’t just great athletes, but great students who have the desire to do the very best and be the very best in everything that they do; those guys are easy to fall in love with.”

Pickett was quick to acknowledge there was a mutual respect at play.

“One thing I know about this organization, they’re really up front about everything. I know that with me, everything was up front, everything was honest. Mr. Pinball is a great GM. I love him as a person, as a GM. Everything has been up front; Coach (Corey) Mace, Coach (Joshua) Bell, Coach (Ryan) Dinwiddie, they really wanted me here and they let me know that early in the process.”

Pickett has shown that love back, not just to those within the organization, but to fans via some amazing social media videos. He says it’s a part of his big personality.

“I like to have a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m just showing that with all the hard work, you can have some fun with it. I train hard but I always like to make it look like it’s fun because it is for me. It’s a blessing to be able to wake up every day and train.”

He doesn’t just train himself; he also works with athletes from the youth to college level.

When Clemons took over as the general manager in October 2019, he told those within the organization that he wanted to make Toronto the number one destination for players in the CFL.

He feels that with players like Pickett and Orimolade signing with the Argos, things are heading in the right direction.

The general manager was asked by Argonauts.ca if that plan to make Toronto the premier destination for CFL players has been validated.

“It doesn’t validate what I’ve done, it does validate what we’ve done. Consistent with that, in terms of wanting to be that destination, we think we have more work to do, but we’ve got a good start.”


ARGO NOTES: Saturday’s practice actually began inside at the Gryphon Fieldhouse. It was cool and with the chance of rain, so warmups were conducted inside…The defence definitely won the day in head-to-head sessions with the offence…In skelly, the offence went after rookie cornerback Mason Pierce on the first two plays. He intercepted the first pass and broke up the second attempt…The D had handful of picks on the day, including one by LB Jordan Williams and another one by DB Robertson Daniel, who has made at least one big play every day…The practice ended much earlier than was expected due to the conditions…Sunday’s scheduled practice time is 9:45-12:30. On Monday the team will hold it’s annual Blue and White scrimmage where the team will work through different situations at full speed. It’s expected to run 4:00-5:30.