Duron Carter feels the love and wants to play harder for Argos’ coach

Duron Carter’s Argo debut came as advertised – a handful of plays and a lot of time spent watching from the bench in a 36-25 loss to Hamilton on Saturday.

Coach Marc Trestman originally planned to hold Carter out for two games until the Sept. 22 Saskatchewan contest after the coming bye week to give the 27-year-old newcomer more time to assimilate into Toronto’s offence.

But he relented this week after talking to team veterans who offered a positive review of the two-time all-star’s start to life as an Argo. Still Trestman warned the role would be a modest one, given Carter’s lack of practice time.

Carter was targeted twice – without success – by quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who did connect with seven other Argos. The six-foot-five receiver also had one kickoff return for 18 yards and two punt returns for 13 yards.

While a work in progress with the Argos, Carter deserved the chance to see action, according to Trestman.

“You could see he wasn’t a factor in our game, in terms of making plays,” said the coach. “He had the ball in his hands four or five times but it’s all new to him – our return team is new to him, our offence is new to him. So we’ll have a little more time next week to maybe do a little bit more when we get back to practice and we’ll see where that goes.”

Carter played cheerleader early on Saturday, easy to spot on the sideline in his blue boots and white gloves. He jumped on an exercise bike early in the first quarter.

He came in with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter and the ball at the Hamilton 29-yard line. Bethel-Thompson went straight to him, only to overthrow him slightly in the end zone with Mike Daly defending.

Sporadic kick return duties were mixed in with some tablet study on the bench and a lot of watching. With time counting down and Bethel-Thompson backed up to his goal-line, the quarterback tried to find Carter a second time but the pass was well off-target.

Carter, hip-hop music quietly emanating from his phone at his BMO Field locker, said after the game he was comfortable in his new surroundings.

“I take everything play by play, really day by day, hour by hour,” said a smiling Carter, who wore his customary No. 89. “Whenever my name was called, I was just ready to get in there and do my thing.”

He said he appreciated Trestman’s support in unveiling him a little sooner than originally earlier.

“Whenever a coach’s behind you, you definitely feel that love and it makes you want to play harder.”

Off the field, Carter is also putting down roots. He has moved into a new apartment and has invested in the new NBA 2K video game.

Carter, whose father is Pro Football Hall of Fame member Cris Carter, signed with the Argos late last month after being released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Prior to that, he spent three seasons with Montreal.

His Argo debut marked his 66th regular-season CFL game. Carter has 266 catches for 4,031 yards with 26 TDs.

Beaten 42-28 in Hamilton on Labour Day, Toronto (3-8-0) has now lost three straight.

Must Read