Toronto Argonauts quarterback Mike Kerrigan passed for 408 yards last Thursday in a 54-39 loss to the British Columbia Lions in Vancouver. But his three interceptions were enough to persuade coach Bob O'Billovich to bench him in favor of Reggie Slack for Saturday's Canadian Football League game here against the Baltimore CFLs.
Slack, a second-year veteran from Auburn, has played little this season, completing 13 of 19 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns.
Last year, sharing time with Tracy Ham and Kerrigan, Slack passed for 1,372 yards and seven touchdowns. He made three starts, including a 30-23 defeat to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, then coached by Don Matthews, now Baltimore's boss. In that game, Slack was 21-for-31 with two touchdowns and an interception.
"He's a little more mobile than Kerrigan, but he doesn't have as much experience," Matthews said.
Said Ham: "Slack's an accurate passer with the ability to find his man under pressure."
Slack was drafted in the 12th round by the Houston Oilers in 1990 but didn't get into any games. He played for the New Jersey Knights in the World League in 1992. He signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1993, but was released.
Mike Pringle, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last Thursday, participated in practice yesterday and anticipates starting against Toronto.
If Pringle, who leads the team in rushing with 414 yards on 76 carries, suffers a setback, Matthews would start Sheldon Canley.
Free-agent linebacker Elfrid Payton, who led the CFL in sacks last season playing for Winnipeg, is close to reaching an agreement to join Baltimore after being cut by the Shreveport Pirates last week.
"I believe we've come to terms with his agent," Matthews said. "We're trying to reach Payton in New Orleans to get him in camp by tomorrow [Thursday]. If he shows up, we could have him ready for Hamilton next week."
Dunbar grad signed
The CFLs signed Dunbar High graduate Malcolm Showell, a defensive tackle just released by the Green Bay Packers.
He was on the Packers' practice roster in 1993 and was at camp with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991 and 1992. He played with the Ohio Glory of World League in 1992.
Team owner Jim Speros said 36,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's game with Toronto.