Argonauts to name former DL Harding to all-time squad

The Canadian Press

9/7/2012 7:09:40 PM

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Time has done nothing to curb Rodney Harding's dislike of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Toronto Argonauts' career sacks leader will become the 22nd player inducted as an All-Time Argo on Saturday during the club's game against Hamilton. And after his former team's 33-30 win in Steeltown on Monday, Harding would enjoy nothing more than celebrating his induction with another Double Blue victory at Rogers Centre.

"Absolutely," the former defensive tackle said with a chuckle. "I hope they can do it back-to-back."

Harding spent the bulk of his 12-year CFL career in Toronto (1985-'94), amassing a club-record 92 sacks. He also helped the Argos capture the '91 Grey Cup.

"It's awesome," he said of being named an All-Time Argo. "The most important thing is I'm alive to enjoy it.

"It's quite an honour. All the hard work really paid off and now you're rewarded for your performance."

Harding spent the '95 season with the now-defunct Memphis Mad Dogs before finishing his career in '96 with the Calgary Stampeders. And there was one incident during his time in Alberta that told Harding the 1996 campaign would be his last.

"My last year in Calgary we had record snow in September, like four-foot drifts," Harding said. "And I said, 'The first plane out I'm retiring. I've had enough."'

The 50-year-old native of Oklahoma City was a two-time CFL all-star with Toronto (1992, '94).

Harding has spent the last 15 years working with Cintas, a uniform and apparel company. Over that span he has remained active officiating high school football and basketball games.

Harding still keeps tabs on his former team on television and says the CFL game now is a little different from when he played in that Canadian-born football players have become better.

"What we're seeing now is a lot of Canadians that make a difference on a good team are going to the U.S. and getting an opportunity to play in the NFL," he said. "The Canadians make a great football team."