The sound of being the Beasts of the East is pretty rowdy and Jalil Carter loves it. Under a clear sky on an uncharacteristically warm October afternoon, the Toronto Argonauts practice is electric Wednesday.
“All of our practices from the whole West Coast trip,” the defensive back said. Carter is looking around as the team trickles off the field, still loud in every circle of offence, defence and special teams.
“I swear, I’ve never been a part of a program like this. Practice is fun. It’s always fun.”
The Argos welcome the Tiger-Cats Friday one win (and an Alouettes loss) away from clinching first place in the East Division.
Not that the Chris Jones-run operation is this easy, but good guys and hard work go together nicely.
“Coach did a good job of bringing good guys. He didn’t bring any shiesty guys,” Carter said.
Not so colloquially: guys who got a pass, guys you gotta look out for.
Not on this team. This defence plays like that song of the summer that won’t drop out of the No. 1 chart spot.
“Our defensive line be singing all the time. They’re big, they’re physical, but everybody’s so nice,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s the craziest thing.”
The Ohio-born, Ohio-raised, Ohio-schooled Carter is in his second CFL season. He went to an Argos tryout when he played for the Ohio-based Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL in 2012.
Though he’d spent most of his life four hours from Toronto, he didn’t know anything about the Canadian league until he met Argos defensive coordinator Jones that day in Pittsburgh last year.
“I didn’t think it went very good,” Carter said. “I didn’t think it went very good at all. All I did was get beat. Coach Jones saw something in me. I’m just so glad he was there.”
Carter never did make the play Jones asked of him. Between the waggle and the adrenaline of making a good impression, Carter was in disbelief when Jones invited him to mini camp.
He acts out the motion of the play he was asked to run. Carter is outspoken even when he’s not trying.
“[The waggle] was ridiculous,” he said. “I was like, ‘what the heck is this? He wants us to press and stand here like this while they were running 10 yards, full speed?’”
He spent 12 weeks on the practice roster in 2012 before stepping in to the spotlight when Pat Watkins went down with a foot injury. Carter appeared in the 100th Grey Cup victory for Toronto, recording five tackles to cap off his first season.
This year, he’s notched 35 tackles and it’s not on him. He’ll hardly credit himself.