He's a gem so farCaught with their finances down, the...


May 31, 1994|By Ken Murray

He's a gem so far

Caught with their finances down, the Toronto Argonauts asked veteran quarterback John Congemi to take a significant pay cut a year ago. Rather than accept less than he made as a rookie, Congemi asked for his release, then sat out the 1993 season.

Now he's in Baltimore trying to win the backup job to another ex-Argo, Tracy Ham. Congemi hasn't lost his touch. He's thrown exceptionally well through four days of camp.

Because of an injury and his size (5 feet 11, 190), Congemi went to the Canadian Football League from Pitt in 1987. "I thought down the road, maybe I'd go back [to the NFL]," he said. "But down the road never came."

Instead, he had a productive career coming off the bench in Canada. His most enjoyable season came in Toronto in 1990 under Don Matthews, now the Colts coach. In 15 games (seven starts) he threw for 1,278 yards and six touchdowns. He has no qualms about his role as a backup.

"It's not a big deal," he said. "I don't need to prove anything. I've won big games, I've lost big games. At this point, this is fun, this is gravy."

Quick strikes

Starting quarterback Ham went 4-for-7 in the no-huddle offense in the morning, and 5-for-7 with two touchdowns in the afternoon. Wide receiver Reggie Perry, a converted quarterback, caught both touchdown passes.

Congemi was 3-for-5 with one touchdown in his no-huddle series, and rookie Shawn Jones was 3-for-6. Bobby Goodman, who suffered a tear in his hamstring, did not participate. He had bleeding into his right knee and may be lost "for a considerable time," Matthews said.

Comings and goings

Four more players have opted to leave camp: linebacker Jim Paddock, defensive end Otis Nealy, defensive back Horace Smith and slotback Michael Palomino. Smith arrived on Sunday, but left after only one practice because his mother is in a coma. Veteran wide receiver B. K. Williams practiced, and another vet, nose tackle Jearld Baylis, told the Colts he also may be in camp before the June 10 start date for veterans.

The kick off

The place-kicking competition began in earnest yesterday, and Donald Igwebuike took the early lead. He was 2-for-3 from 42 yards. Ian Howfield was 1-for-3.

Special teams coach Daryl Edralin said the punters, meanwhile, have been erratic so far. "Their get-off time is slow," said Edralin, who wants punts away in 2.0 to 2.1 seconds.

Ring time

The morning workout was punctuated by a fierce, if rather brief, fight between defense tackle Tom Fuhler and offensive tackle Neil Port. Fuhler landed three hard lefts in the skirmish.

Just visiting

The Colts have four guest coaches in camp: James Hagen (running backs) of Towson State, Rich Ellison (defensive line) of Arizona and Greg Butler (defensive backs) of Howard. And Tim Prukop, an assistant at USC, is setting up the team's video system.


Erik Ringoen

Pos: DE

Ht: 6-3

Wt: 234



Year: 2nd

Outlook: The Colts have moved Ringoen from outside linebacker to rush end, with their emphasis on speed. He is a good special teams player, a key factor in roster makeup.

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