Sammy Tranks was right in the middle of telling me how he knocked Odell Willis on his keester, last season, when the Argo team bus started pulling out of the parking lot at Holy Trinity Catholic School, site of Thursday's sun-kissed practice.
"Hey, I need that," Tranks said, as he pointed to the departing bus.
Due to circumstances beyond his control, Sammy Tranks was left stranded, as most of his teammates headed back to headquarters in Mississauga. Some reporter kept him too long. When the bus leaves, the bus leaves.
Bit of a reach for me to suggest that the scene is a metaphor for Tranks' Argo career so far, but there it is.
And like the detours and roadblocks that have stuttered the start to Tranks' time as an Argo, he took the departure of his ride in stride. As long as the reporter he was entertaining could give him a lift, no problem.
"A lot of work, a lot of work," said the friendly second year receiver after he was put through his most rigorous practice of the year. Tranks took a ton or reps with the first team offence at slot and returned about a dozen kicks as well. "The most work I've got in recent weeks."
"Feeling great," he said of the day's work. "If I get my shot, I'm gonna run with it."
His shot might just come in Saturday's game in Regina. If he plays, Tranks will see his first CFL action since...
"Hamilton, October first, last year, that's when I hurt my knee," he said, finishing the sentence. "Before that, it was Week 5, out in Edmonton," he continued. "Limited action," he chuckled.
If not Saskatchewan this weekend, perhaps Hamilton next Thursday. If not then, sometime, you've got to figure. The Argos just like Tranks too much, it seems, to not give him a bona fide shot. They love his attitude. It's an attitude that has seen him through the disappointments of rarely starting in 2011, only to be injured when he did. An attitude that kept him re-habbing and hoping for another call, after he'd been let go before this season began, without seeing any action at all in training camp.
Tranks made his CFL debut in Week 4 of the 2011 season (versus Winnipeg) and he played well. 3 catches, 48 yards and a touchdown reception. That's also the game where he blew up defensive end Odell Willis with the block I mentioned off the top. The following week, the numbers fell to 3 receptions, 17 yards. He didn't get another shot until that fateful Hamilton game on October 1st.
He suffered a torn ACL in a knee, on a play he can remember with incredible detail and clarity. Even remembers that he made the catch, though it was overturned on review (a decision he still quarrels with, by the way). When the damage didn't heal sufficiently enough on its own, he had the knee scoped just prior to training camp. That procedure left him out of action and earned him his release.
Tranks, however, put his head down and pushed forward, seriously re-habbing the knee and a bum shoulder, waiting for a call.
"Thank God (Argos' general manager) Jim Barker still had interest in me. And they brought me back," he said.
Rejoining the Boatmen, added to the practice roster on September 26th, the 25-year-old Philadelphia native was happy to return. After all, he'd spent all of the last off-season in Toronto, taking part in the team's "Huddle Up" anti-bullying program and helping teammate Andre Durie with a little kids' football coaching.
"This feels like a second home, being in Toronto," he said.
"Having familiar faces on the team from last year and to come back to, kind of, praise and open arms, that made me feel like this is the place to be right now. Definitely."
It may well be that Sammy Tranks is about to get another chance on a CFL field, come Saturday. Head Coach Scott Milanovich advised that his status, as well as that of injured receiver Dontrelle Inman, may not be made until game day, although decisions may come as soon as Friday afternoon.
"Sammy's doing some good things, offered Milanovich. "He's gotten better since he's been here. He gives you some return help if something were to happen to Chad (Owens)."
Don is a very familiar voice to Toronto radio listeners. His razor-sharp wit, easy on-air manner and superb interview skills made him a morning radio staple for more than 10 years, at the helm of the FAN 590′s breakfast show. Follow Don on Twitter @ArgosLandry
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|