CFL

Hogan: Argonauts Mann up at the receiver position

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Mike Hogan, TSN Radio 1050
7/26/2014 1:51:10 PM
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It's obvious Maurice Mann is no fan of feel-good movies.

The script had been followed to the letter. After a successful career in the CFL, Mann won the 100th Grey Cup at home in his final game, then walked off the field for the final time as a champion.

With a plot twist worthy of 'The Usual Suspects', the 32-year old receiver has decided to re-shoot the final scene and return to action. He'll suit up for the Toronto Argonauts Saturday night in Regina for a game against the Roughriders.

How did this happen? It started out when the receiver was spotted by the staff at recent Argo home games.

"They saw me at a few of the games and said 'Mo, you look good, you look to be in shape'" Mann told TSN 1050. "I said 'I am in shape, coach'. So when the injury bug hit, I was there and sent an e-mail or two."

Head coach Scott Milanovich says it was general manager Jim Barker's brainwave to bring back the six-year veteran.

"It was Jim's idea a couple of weeks ago when we started having injuries," Milanovich told TSN 1050. "It made a lot of sense to me and you almost question yourself 'why hasn't Mo been around?' He's been great, you just hope he can keep his wind up. He's been staying in great shape and I expect he'll play well."

The coach is happy with what he's seen at practice.

"He looks good," continued Milanovich. "It looks like he hasn't missed a beat. He looks like he's been through training camp and he's running well, he's catching the ball well. We've been moving him around position-wise trying to fit him in where we may need the help and that's probably been the challenge for him, is having us give him a definitive position that he's going to be in."

Mann is listed on the depth chart as the 'x' position, or the wide receiver on the boundary side. He has moved around during the week and will likely move inside on occasion. John Chiles, who is usually in that spot, made the trip, but is a game-time decision with a leg injury.

If Chiles can't go, he'll join Chad Owens, Jason Barnes and Andre Durie on the sidelines, meaning the Argos would be down four quality starting receivers.

Perhaps the best person to ask about the progress of Mann is quarterback Ricky Ray, who played with the receiver not only during the Grey Cup run in Toronto, but for three seasons in Edmonton.

"We've had the injury bug, it's nice to have a guy you're familiar with coming back into the lineup," said Ray. "The good thing is that he has a good basis for the terminology in the offence that we're doing and obviously, we have a lot of game experience together, so for me, I feel pretty comfortable with having him out there and we have a lot of past experiences to build off of."

Mann is comfortable with the offence and the terminology, but admits a lot has changed in the last year and four games.

"Scott (Milanovich) is a mad scientist," joked the receiver. "Even though Marcus (offensive coordinator Marcus Brady) is running it, there's a lot of new things in terms of the offence, but it's pretty similar and I'm pretty comfortable already because I have a great teacher in (receivers coach) Jason Maas, who is keeping me seven hours after practice to learn everything possible about what I need to see, and where I have to be."

Seeing Mann in double blue will evoke memories of the Argos 31-26 win over the Riders in Regina in 2012, the game most point to as the turning point in their championship season. On that day, the Seaside, California native hauled in seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.

Repeating those numbers would be a long shot at best, but with his return to the lineup, Mann has demonstrated that nothing is impossible.

Maurice Mann  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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