Palardy calls in sick to continue football career

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No, the Toronto Argonauts did not get the wrong Palardy on Monday.

Suspicions might have been raised because within a few days of signing kicker Michael Palardy, the Argos went out and signed kicker Justin Palardy on Thursday.

There’s no relation, although the joke around Argo practice is that they even look alike.

The big difference is Michael’s specialty is kickoffs and punting, while Justin wants to kick only field goals.

The differences don’t stop there.

Michael, 23, is from Florida and played college ball for the Tennessee Volunteers, and was recently released by the St. Louis Rams.

He kicks left-footed.

Justin, 27, is from Truro, N.S., was drafted into the CFL out of St. Mary’s University and played four years for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and part of his rookie year for the Hamilton Ticats.

He kicks right-footed.

They begin their different roles starting Saturday in Ottawa against the Redblacks as emergency replacements for the injured Swayze Waters, who performed all three kicking chores.

Mix-ups, of course, aren’t new to the CFL or pro sports in general, leading to speculation this might have been another.

There was the case in 1996, when Ottawa general manager Garney Henley was fired after a troubled one-year tenure that included questionable trades, drafting a dead player and dealing the same draft pick to two different teams.

Henley later issued a statement saying he was neither stupid nor incompetent but dyslexic.

However, there was no confusion on the Argos part when it came to signing two kickers named Palardy in the same week.

Argos general manager Jim Barker rejects any such suggestion.

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of in my life,” Barker said. “I would never make that kind of a mistake.”

Michael Palardy performed all three kicking roles at Tennessee, but he struggled with field goals this week.

“We just thought, ‘You know what? Let’s take the field goals away from him,’ and the best Canadian out there who was available that has kicked in big games was Justin Palardy,” the Argos GM said.

Having two kickers with the same last name has been a source of widespread humour around the Argo camp and the confusion started when the first Palardy was signed.

Justin was getting texts and emails from friends congratulating him on signing with Toronto.

Even Justin Palardy’s agent, Fred Weinrauch, said that when he learned the Argos had signed Michael, he kidded his client that Toronto got the wrong Palardy.

For those who might still be confused come game time, Michael Palardy wears No. 14 and Justin wears No. 17.

Justin Palardy hasn’t kicked in a regular season game since 2013, although the Redblacks invited him to camp this year before releasing him.

Justin thought his pro football days were over, and he had been making plans to start a policing career.

In the meantime, he had taken a job as a labourer at a Truro sawmill and was coaching a bantam football team.

When he got the phone call from the Argos, he was en route to his coaching job, and had to battle some emotions when he told the players he had to leave them.

He arrived in Toronto late Wednesday night and, after a restless sleep, pounded back coffee so he could be alert for practice. He doesn’t even drink coffee.

The result: He was five-of-five on field goal attempts from the 30 yard line and beyond.

While Justin hopes to be around for the rest of the season, he is cautious about his football future.

Asked whether he quit his job at the sawmill, Justin responded: “I called in sick today and I’ll call in sick tomorrow.”

What happens with work on Monday will largely depend on whether he gets off on the right foot with the Argos on Saturday.

Drew Edwards is the founder of 3DownNation but has since wandered off. Beard in the photo not exactly as shown.