Isiah Cage is all the rage at the Argos camp as veteran left tackle returns from an ankle injury

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Isiah Cage was on the verge of enjoying a successful year for the Argonauts last season when a broken ankle at training camp led to disaster.

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Cage was the victim of a football version of friendly fire when a teammate twisted his ankle during camp’s final game.

A bad break for an elite offensive lineman, an even worse turn of events for the Argos, who lost their lead player for the entire 2021 season down the line of scrimmage.

Cage is back in Guelph, the scene of last year’s horrific mishap, stronger than ever and once again ready to make his presence felt as a left tackler, one of the most important parts of football.

Blind side protection is crucial and a healthy cage will give the Argos an advantage.

Looking back, the hardest part, Cage admits, was realizing his football season was over before it even started.

“I tore my ankle,” said Cage, 28, recalling that moment in Guelph. “I had to have surgery in the US and spent all year in rehab to get the leg right and here I am today.”

Much like any American new to three-down football, Cage bided his time while learning the nuances of a new game. But as soon as he got on the field, his impact was felt immediately.

Last year’s ankle injury was one of many setbacks for the 6-foot-5. The 315-pounder has persevered since joining the Argos in 2018.

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Three years ago, in a game in Moncton against the Alouettes in late August, Cage was injured and missed the equalizer of the season.

Then the 2020 CFL season was canceled due to COVID, followed by the next adversity that played out at last year’s camp.

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“I was in a cast for six to eight weeks,” he said. “When I came out of the cast, I had to learn to walk. There was a lot of upper body work earlier in the offseason.

“It has taken time to build things that I can go full throttle on. I’ve had injuries in the past that have hampered me, but this is professional football and these issues shouldn’t stop you from doing what you need to do.

When he reported to camp this year and returned to the site of his season-ending ankle injury, there was no mental concern.

What Cage felt was the normal tremors of the camp.

“I was mostly excited,” Cage said. “It was nice to be with the boys and the team.”

Soccer is the ultimate team sport. As any injured player would readily admit, the worst thing is not being with the team.

He’s back with the Argos now and thinks he feels the same way he did a year ago, knowing that great things are in store for him.

“I’m definitely ready to have a good year,” he continued. “I’m working on my playbook, tapping off that rust and hoping for a good year.”

Tall and physical, athletic with long arms and good feet, Cage brings a mean edge. In other words, he has the perfect body and mind to play on the left. And he’s tough.

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McLeod Bethel-Thompson, the Argos’ quarterback and a division all-star last year, welcomes the return of Cage.

“As a quarterback, my livelihood and wellbeing is absolutely and completely dependent on the five guys in front of me,” he said. “Anytime we can add a guy like Isiah, it was really hard to see him go down for the whole season last year.

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“He worked hard to come back and it makes me very, very happy to have him with me.”

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Speaking of leg injuries, the Argos added veteran Canada DB Arjen Colquhoun to the list of eliminated players on Friday. The unlucky Colquhoun was stretchered off the field in Montreal last season and never played again. Colquhoun also endured his share of injuries while in Edmonton… The Argos also announced the signing of DL Deionte Knight, whom they drafted 10th overall this year. Knight played at Western and won the 2021 JP Metras Trophy for the nation’s top varsity lineman. He’s joining the Argos after attending NFL rookie camps with the Washington Commanders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers… The first of two daily practice sessions begins Saturday in Guelph… The door isn’t closed to DJ Foster, who is in batted his first season well in the CFL last year as a double threat running back. “We’re going to keep the door open for him,” said head coach Ryan Dinwiddie, who shared a stint in the backfield with Foster and CFL veteran John White IV at times. “He has other things going on. We got that. There is a possibility of a return to the NFL. If not, he might get into the real world. Hopefully he’ll be back sometime. If not, that’s life. We like our back-up position.” Veteran free agent Andrew Harris will return to the Boatmen this season, although the team was impressed by Canadian rookie Daniel Adeboboye, a native of Toronto, who made the second round (15th overall) .

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