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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

THE POINT AFTER


TORONTO - One of the few constants of McLeod Bethel-Thompson's pro football career has been Trevor Harris.

The two quarterbacks have crossed paths in both the Arena Football League and United Football League. On Thursday night, Bethel-Thompson will make his first CFL start with the Toronto Argonauts against the Ottawa Redblacks, who's starter is none other than Harris.

"We were close, we were workout buddies in the UFL,'' Bethel-Thompson said Monday. "He's a strong guy, he always out-lifted me so I've been trying to keep up with him.''

Harris, 32, is in his seventh CFL season and third with Ottawa. But before landing in Canada with the Toronto Argonauts in 2012, Harris spent time in the NFL (Jacksonville in 2010), AFL (Arizona Rattlers, 2011; Orlando Predators, 2012) and UFL (Hartford Colonials, 2011; Sacramento Mountain Lions, 2012).

But Bethel-Thompson has played for nine teams in three leagues since 2011. He's been with the NFL's Miami Dolphins (2011, 2014) and Minnesota Vikings (2012-13, 2014) twice and the San Francisco 49ers (2011, 2013, 2015) three times over that span.

He joined the Argos on May 23, 2017 and served as Ricky Ray's backup in last year's Grey Cup victory over Calgary. But the six-foot-four, 230-pound San Francisco native, who turns 30 on Friday, has attempted just two CFL regular-season passes, completing both for 10 yards.

"Insanity, obsession,'' Bethel-Thompson quipped when asked how he's persevered. "I've kind of been obsessed by this thing since I was a kid.

"I don't know why I've put myself through that but it's been a great learning lesson. It's been a crazy journey but I wouldn't trade it for anything and I think it's made me a stronger and better person along the way.''

Bethel-Thompson replaces James Franklin, who was 1-3 since taking over from the injured Ricky Ray. The six-foot-two, 225-pound Franklin, whose rights Toronto acquired this off-season from Edmonton, completed 83-of-127 passes (65.4 per cent) for 900 yards with a TD and six interceptions as the starter.

Franklin was 20-of-31 passing for 236 yards with three interceptions in Toronto's 40-14 road loss to the Winnipeg on Friday night. The Blue Bombers outscored the Argos 78-34 in sweeping the home-and-home series.

"To be a good quarterback you have to know who you are as a person and so by definition we're different people,'' Bethel-Thompson said. "I think you'll see my personality come out on the football field just like you saw his personality come out.

"No two quarterbacks are alike and there's no science to it and so hopefully I'll just show who I am.''

So what does Bethel-Franklin want to show Thursday?

"A win,'' he said. "A winning scoreboard.

"I think that's all that matters.''

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PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly, Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward and Winnipeg linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox are the CFL top performers for Week 7.

Reilly threw for 415 yards and four touchdowns as the Eskimos thumped Montreal 44-23 on Thursday. The reigning most outstanding player also ran for a touchdown.

Ward went seven-for-seven on field goal attempts on Saturday, earning all the Redblacks' points in a 21-15 win over Hamilton.

Santos-Knox had a career-high 10 defensive tackles on Friday, including three sacks, in the Blue Bomber's 40-14 rout of Toronto.

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THIS 'N THAT: Trestman wasn't sure if offensive lineman Ryan Bomben would play Thursday night against Ottawa. Toronto acquired the native of Burlington, Ont., from the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday night. Trestman added kicker-punter Ronnie Pfeffer likely won't play versus the Redblacks but is expected back following the bye week. The club added Canadian kicker/punter Zackary Medeiros to the practice roster Monday. Linebacker Bear Woods, who opened the season on the six-game injury list following back surgery, has resumed practising but won't play this week. Trestman said he'll be evaluated further during the bye week . . . The Riders added American defensive back Marcell Young to the practice roster while releasing defensive back Will Blackmon and linebacker Carl Bradford, both also Americans.

(Canadian Press)

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