Argos rule out all-star receiver Damonte Coxie for season opener

Photo: Reuben Polansky/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Toronto Argonauts will be without a number of high-profile potential starters when they open their 2024 season on Sunday.

Second-year pivot Cameron Dukes will get the start at quarterback, as reigning Most Outstanding Player Chad Kelly serves a minimum nine-game suspension for violating the CFL’s violence against women policy. However, the young signal caller won’t have his entire complement of receivers to throw to, with East Division all-star Damonte Coxie beginning the year on the one-game injured list.

Coxie caught 39 passes for 787 yards and five touchdowns last season but will be forced to sit out after being limited by a hamstring injury in practice this week. Rookie Makai Polk will make his first career start in place of the veteran.

Also absent from the receiving corps is Canadian David Ungerer III (hamstring), who posted a career-high 41 catches for 579 yards and three touchdowns last year, and 2024 first-round pick Kevin Mital (foot) — both of whom have been placed on the six-game injured list. Dejon Brissett and Richie Sindani will start in the Canadian receiver spots.

The team will get a boost from the addition of former Blue Bomber Rasheed Bailey in the slot and two-time CFL all-star Ka’Deem Carey at running back. 2023 CFL all-star Darius Ciraco will not get the start at centre and will instead backup Peter Nicastro, with Gregor MacKellar taking over at right guard.


On the defensive side of the ball, Jared Brinkman and Jordan Williams will get the start at defensive tackle, but prized trade acquisition Jake Ceresna will see a heavy rotational load as the team’s designated nationalized American. The former all-star will be able to replace either player for an unlimited amount of plays, while also subbing in for Canadian defensive end Robbie Smith for up to 25 snaps to allow for an all-American pass rush.

The Argos will have several new faces in the secondary, with rookie Leonard Johnson getting the start at boundary cornerback and Benjie Franklin, who started one game for the team last year, locking down the field side. Quincy Mauger, who came over from the B.C. Lions this offseason, will get the nod at strong-side linebacker.

On special teams, kicker Lirim Hajrullahu and returner Janarion Grant will make their much anticipated debuts for the Double Blue.

In addition to the injuries at receiver, four other Canadians have been placed on the six-game, including defensive backs Tunde Adeleke (knee) and Jamie Harry (hip), offensive lineman Dylan Giffen (hip), and linebacker Daniel Kwamou (knee). Canadian fullback Albert Awachie (hand) will begin the year on the one-game injured list.

Veteran American defensive tackle Shawn Oakman, Canadian defensive tackle Deionte Knight, and American defensive back ‘Muddy’ Waters are healthy scratches for this game.

The Toronto Argonauts (0-0) will host the B.C. Lions (0-0) on Sunday, June 9 at BMO Field with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Graphic courtesy: Toronto Argonauts