McLeod Bethel-Thompson is ready after long journey through football

CFL

TORONTO – Marc Trestman made the official announcement prior to his usual post-practice media scrum on Monday that McLeod Bethel-Thompson would be the Argonauts starting quarterback for Week 8 against the Ottawa REDBLACKS.

Bethel-Thompson replaces James Franklin, who was named the replacement after Ricky Ray fell to injury during Toronto’s game against the Stampeders back on June 23.

“Trestman has been consistent in his stance on that issue all season,” wrote Mike Hogan in his piece for Argonauts.ca. “He proclaimed Ricky Ray as the starter before training camp opened and said Franklin would have to beat out Bethel-Thompson for the backup job. He also said when Ray was hurt, it was a virtual coin flip as to who would be the starter, the two QBs were that close together on the depth chart.”

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The change comes after the Argonauts have gone lost three consecutive games after winning their first and lone win of the season in Franklin’s first game as the starter.

Now with a week of practice to prepare ahead of his first CFL start, Bethel-Thompson is relishing the opportunity to show what he can do for the Argos.

“Just really concentrating on doing my job,” The 30-year old pivot said Tuesday following practice. “Sean McEwen, great football player, said it to us last week, ‘do your one-twelfth’. That’s my job on Thursday night, do that one-twelfth of the offence and just kind of help those guys make plays.”

Staying humble to the belief that he feels he’s not stepping in to be a saviour for the Argonauts, but rather just another piece instrumental in their success as a team.

“There’s so many great players around us, just need to put them in the best position possible to look good.”

The undrafted quarterback out of Sacramento State has had his career take him through a long journey before arriving in the CFL, spending time with five different NFL teams and his first taste of football north of the border coming with Winnipeg in 2016.

In 2011, Bethel-Thompson found himself as a member of the Sacramento Mountain Lions, a team that played in the now-defunct United Football League. There, he competed for the starting quarterback position against a familiar face when it comes to the CFL, Trevor Harris.

“He’s been around a lot of football,” says Trestman. “He’s moved around a lot and has been with a lot of different coaches, so he’s developed his own style of how to prepare and how to get himself ready. This will be new, I mean he’s starting this game, so it’ll be a new environment for him.”

Bethel-Thompson’s last taste of in-game action came in the pre-season when he passed for 212 yards and completing 14 of his 20 pass attempts in two games. He also tallied three touchdown passes, adding another on the ground on a 12-yard scamper against the Argos first pre-season game against the Tiger-Cats.

“I think we’re at a point where our offence is so close is so many different ways, and like I said, there’s so many good players on this team,” says Bethel-Thompson. “So hopefully it’s just the spark on Thursday night and we’ll play good football.”

Coach Trestman sees the potential the change at quarterback could have in igniting the offence the way Bethel-Thompson is hoping for.

“He’s been with us for a year and a half. Everybody knows how much he loves football and how dedicated he is as a teammate, and to our football team,” says Trestman. “Now he has the opportunity he’s been waiting for, and I think everyone’s excited to see him play.”

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